HAMILTON – Some of the best and brightest Onkwehon:we celebrities were honoured in Hamilton at Thursday night’s Dreamcatcher Charitable Foundation’s 10th annual Gala.
Awards were handed out in five categories to those Onkwehon:we stars seen as advancing the cause of Indigenous people through their separate fields of endeavor by the Dreamcatcher Foundation.
Delby Powless, Chairman of the Dreamcatcher Foundation, welcomed the large black-tie crowd.
“I am very honoured and humbled to be part of such a helpful and generous foundation,” he said. “We have Aboriginal people in so many different fields of work, sports, and successful businesses, that it’s hard to imagine where we can go from here.”
The event was also a fundraiser for the foundation.
“I cannot say enough about the founders of the Dreamcatcher Charitable Foundation,” he continued. “They are a group of men that have a heart of gold and who are more than happy to show it. Peter Montour and Yogi Bomberry aren’t with us tonight, but they are definitely here in our hearts and continue to be a driving force behind Dreamcatcher. It’s people like them who make a huge difference in the world.”
Executive Director Sara Awdih explained the goal of the Dreamcatcher Foundation, saying, “Dreamcatcher has dedicated itself to ensuring all Aboriginal youth across Canada are provided an opportunity to achieve their dreams. We believe that every person’s story starts with a dream.”
The Foundation began in 2004 and has since become one of the largest First Nations charities in North America, having funded more than 6,000 applications, and providing life-changing resources and support to First Nations all across Canada.
“Each award winner tonight is an inspiration to their community,” acknowledged Awdish.
The keynote speaker was CEO of Grand River Enterprises International, Jerry Montour, also a co-founder of Dreamcatcher.
Honoured in the Sports category was the Rochester Knighthawks organization. On May 31st, the Knighthawks, led by team captain Sid Smith, Mike Kirk and Cody Jamieson, defeated the Calgary Roughnecks in the National Lacrosse League Championship, making NLL history by winning three straight championships. Several Knighthawks also won individual honours for the 2014 season. Receiving the award on behalf of the Knighthawks was Cody Jamieson.
Playwright, novelist and composer/pianist Tomson Highway of Manitoba was honoured with a Dreamcatcher Award in the Arts and Culture category. Highway is Cree and a member of the Barren Land First Nation. His work has been honoured across mainstream Canada. He was named by Maclean’s magazine as one of the 100 Most Important People in Canadian History.
For Education, Duncan Cree from Kanehsatake Mohawk Territory was selected, having earned his Bachelor of Engineering in Mechanical Engineering with a special Aerospace and Vehicle Systems, a Master of Engineering in Mechanical Engineering and a Doctor of Philosophy in Mechanical Engineering. He has used his skills and his insight with the National Research Council of Canada for two years.
He continues to encourage and share his knowledge and experience with high school students from his home community and throughout other reserves in Quebec.
Dr. Darlene Kitty, a Cree from Northern Quebec was singled out in the Health category for her years of work as a family physician in Chisasibi Hospital, in the northern regions of Quebec. She is Director of the Aboriginal Program at the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Ottawa, President of the Indigenous Physicians Association of Canada, as well as President of the Council of Physicians, Dentists and Pharmacists for Region 18.
For Lifetime Achievement, Oneida actor Graham Greene from Six Nations was honoured for his positive example and achievements in film, TV and theatre. In the mid-1980’s Greene got his first big break acting alongside the legendary Al Pacino in the film Revolution, but his most famous role to date was his role as Kicking Bird in the classic Kevin Costner film, Dances with Wolves. Greene has also contributed to the success of other films as well, such as Thunderheart, Maverick, Die Hard with a Vengeance and The Green Mile, as well as several TV shows and guest appearances. He continues to work in high profile projects such as The Twilight Saga and A&E’s Longmire.
Amongst the many celebrities enjoying the gala were the popular stars from the Trailer Park Boys, Mike Smith, Robb Wells and JP Tremblay, whom almost everyone in the room wanted a selfie with, including Two Row Times Publisher Jonathan Garlow and his wife Nahnda.