Honouring our Golden Eagles at Aboriginal Achievement Awards

May 19, 2023

It was a memorable and meaningful night at this year’s 11th annual Aboriginal Achievement Awards.

The District event which aims to celebrate the graduates in the Aboriginal Education Program was a little different from previous years.

Each event includes the blanketing protocol, which is the highest of honours in the Indigenous community.

The blanket is placed carefully over the person’s shoulders, closed at the front.

These blankets hold the love, the pride and respect of the family presenting the blankets.

In the past, as part of the blanketing protocol, the graduates were blanketed prior to the start of the ceremony.

This time around, the graduates were blanketed on stage in front of their peers, staff, families and the community.

“The students and meeting the families or having the families come out to actually share a night like this is very special,” says Vance Sanderson, one of the Aboriginal Support Workers in the District and co-host of the event.

“It’s heartfelt just to see them grow through the years, and have them come up here, and accept their Golden Eagle award, get them blanketed. To see that process is always special,” he explained.

As part of the ceremony, the Golden Eagles follow a procession around the room to drumming and song, as a way to be celebrated and honoured by the community.

These grads are referred to as the Golden Eagles, because the Eagle is highly respected in Indigenous culture, as it is the one who flies the highest and carries our thoughts and prayers to the Creator.

Sanderson says this event is important as it helps gives grads a sense of pride and belonging.

“I hope they can feel that they can speak their language, practice their culture, and be up here someday, and do their own program and see how far they can take culture in schools, community, and the province,” he adds.

After the graduates were acknowledged, students in the Aboriginal Education Program in grades 9 to 11 were also celebrated for their achievements in categories including academics, athletics, and ways of being.

The District congratulates the Golden Eagles and all award recipients.

To view photos from the event, see gallery below.