First woman elected to MCFN council one of three Eagle Award recipients

MISSISSAUGAS OF THE CREDIT — Carol Tobicoe, the first woman elected to the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation Elected Council, has been honoured with an Eagle Award for her lifelong dedication to volunteer work in the community.

She joins activist Joanne Webb and historian Jane Beecroft as the three recipients of the 2021 Eagle Awards, created by MCFN Council in 2020 to honour community members and friends of MCFN.

“It’s about building pride and giving recognition where it’s due,” said MCFN Chief Stacey Laforme.

Tobicoe received the community volunteer award for her decades of work in organizing the community’s well-attended annual Three Fires Homecoming Powwow since 1987. She has spent her life volunteering for countless causes within the community and is currently a member of the MCFN Culture Committee where she works to assist in preserving the language, history and culture of the community.

Tobicoe was also the recipient of the 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award for Outstanding Volunteerism, given to a member of Six Nations, Brantford, Brant County, or Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation annually who exemplifies the spirit of community volunteerism.

“This is an honour,” Tobicoe said. “I have been volunteering in the community since day one and I never did this for recognition but it’s great to feel appreciated. I think (the awards) will inspire our youth to do more.”

Joanne Webb, an MCFN community member, has received the Trailblazer Award for her activism in human rights, women’s rights and Indigenous rights.

“This is a real honour for me,” she said. “I’m humbled. I have to say chi-miigwech to my nominator and Chief and Council for this. I am very proud of my community and everything we do. I always encourage people to learn our history. Something like this inspires you to keep going and makes me want to push harder.”

Webb has worked for Hamilton Health Science, was the diversity vice-president for Aboriginal workers with the Canadian Union for Public Employees, and has been a member of the Ontario Aboriginal Council, the Ontario Human Rights Committee, and Ontario Women’s Committee.

Jane Beecroft received the Friends of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation Award in recognition of her work to preserve MCFN history. She led the Community History Project, which is part of the Toronto Historical Association and works with heritage organizations across Toronto and residents’ associations in the area.

“I am honoured and delighted to receive this award,” said Beecroft.

Carolyn King, a noted historian, elder and the first female Chief ever of MCFN, praised Beecroft and said, “Jane shamelessly and advocated for (MCFN) to the City (of Toronto) and asked anyone who would listen to get to know our story. She is truly one of our best friends.”

Chief Laforme said, “Each of these women are important to the First Nation. We are grateful to each of them and so proud to honour them.”

A celebration is planned for September at the MCFN Community Centre. Last year’s celebration was halted due to Covid-19. This year’s celebration plans to honour last year’s recipients as well. Those recipients were Justice Harry LaForme, the late Karl King (who was a teacher at Lloyd S. King Elementary School), and Ontario Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth Dowdeswell.

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