Efforts of Elders recognized, celebrated

The new executive director of the High Prairie Native Friendship Centre was introduced at the 39th annual Elders Banquet on Dec. 7. Standing left-right, are board secretary Josephine Payou, youth representative Constance Cardinal, director Hazel Vicklund, executive director Milena-Gwen McBain and directors Pearl Sandor, Robert BigCharles and Emily Calliou. Board chair Ryk Badger and vice-chair Robin Baker are missing in the photo.

Largest crowd in years attends

Richard Froese
South Peace News

Seniors were honoured as the High Prairie Native Friendship Centre hosted its 39th annual Elders Banquet on Dec. 7.

More than 250 people gathered at the Eagle’s Nest Complex near Enilda, one of the largest crowds in several years.

Breaking from tradition, the Elder-of-the-Year Award was not presented this year.

“This year, we wanted to celebrate all our Elders, we didn’t want to single out anybody,” new executive director Milena-Gwen McBain.

“We know our Elders bring a lot to our community.”

McBain was also introduced as the new executive director. She started Nov. 20.

“I want to bring the Friendship Centre back in line with its vision and mission statement and to build solid relationships with our community partners in our programs,” McBain says.

She has almost 30 years experience in administration and social work with First Nations, Metis, Indigenous and youth. Most recently, she worked four years in administration for the High Prairie and District Children’s Resource Council.

The vision statement is: “The High Prairie Native Friendship Centre envisions a centre that accepts and respects all peoples, promotes the quality of life deserving of our Elders, youth and all people leading us into the future.”

The mission statement is: “The High Prairie Native Friendship Centre will provide priority services while preserving our culture and traditions.”

High Prairie is part of the Alberta Native Friendship Centres Association.

The Weekend Warriors of the Valleyview area entertained the crowd during the dance at the Elders Banquet at Enilda Dec. 7.

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