The 10th anniversary is always something to celebrate but Gala Memegwashi’s exceeded all expectations. This year saw a record number of 263 Aboriginal students honoured, from elementary school to university, along with high school, college, adult education and skills development.
There was a large turnout with a crowd of more than 500 on hand at the Théâtre Télébec in Val-d’Or.
Hockey legend in his own time Carey Price, goaltender for the Montreal Canadiens and member of the Ulkatcho First Nation, headed up the festivities. Price encouraged students to stay in schools as a way to make it happen.
In the past 10 years, Gala Mëmëgwashi has honoured 1,424 young Aboriginals from Val-d’Or. It encourages and promotes a sense of pride and accomplishment among students.
The Mëmëgwashi Tribute prize was awarded to a happy Steven Babin, a young hockey player for the Apollos. He stood out as scoring champion of the Midget AA league. This young Anishinabe works hard at his studies and even works part-time for the homework support program at the Val-d’Or Friendship Centre. Babin works intensely to make his dreams a reality. Honorable mention went to Évelyne Papatie and a group of young Anishinabek from Kitcisakik who rode across Canada on their bicycles.
For the Friendship Centre’s executive director Édith Cloutier, “The Mëmëgwashi Gala is an evening filled with emotion, and especially pride.” She sees the hopes and achievements of many young Aboriginals as something to honour and support wholeheartedly. She said, “The Gala is an opportunity for parents to show their support for their children’s academic success. It is a great moment of pride for the community.”