Curtis Cardinal is considered one of over a dozen males who has been honoured at Edmonton’s City Hall Saturday with an Okimaw Award.
The awards are handed out to native Indigenous males for his or her contributions in quite a lot of totally different areas together with group service, mentorship, music and artwork, politics, lecturers, legislation enforcement and well being.
Cardinal acquired the ‘Love Award’ for his assist of Edmonton’s homeless inhabitants via his love of meals. His catering enterprise Tee Pee Treats served over 6,000 meals within the internal metropolis final yr alone.
“I felt there was a need in the community- just to help feed people healthy foods, soups and bannock,” Cardinal mentioned. “Just home cooked meals that are for the people living in encampments, living in tents. I just felt there was a need. There are so many people out there that are just struggling to live.”
Cardinal as soon as lived on the road and battled addictions. He hopes he can now encourage different to show their lives round and assist others.
“I show them love through food and I know that love, they always give it back,” Cardinal mentioned. “It gives me a sense of pride that these people don’t go to bed hungry at night.”
“The Okimaw awards were a vision that I had,” mentioned Janice Randhile, Okimaw Awards founder. “12 years later here we are honouring our Indigenous men.”
Randhile describes the awards as being primarily based on a person’s character, not essentially their accomplishments. The Esquao Award honour the contributions of Indigenous lady however Randhile needed to create one thing that did the identical for males.
“Being seen for the work that [they are] doing,” Randhile added. “To see that people can change, people can heal, people can grow. It’s exactly what I wanted to see. The community coming out to support our men and that’s where the nominations come from.”
Francis Whiskeyjack, a residential faculty survivor and member of the Saddle Lake Cree Nation, acquired the Lifetime Journey Award.
“It’s all about hard work, believing in yourself and building relationships with people,” Whiskeyjack mentioned of his work mentoring younger folks. “There’s a psychology in honouring spirit and keeping yourself healthy.”
Whiskeyjack has spent many years advocating for and mentoring youth, receiving an honourary Doctor of Laws from the University of Alberta. He’s additionally been an influencial voice in maintaining the Cree language alive.
Edmonton Public Schools can also be honouring elder Dr. Francis Whiskeyjack by naming a brand new highschool within the Meadows neighbourhood after him. it’s scheduled to open in September 2024.
“These types of awards inspire young people- role models lead the way to showcase that it can be done,” Whiskeyjack mentioned.
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