By Mervin Brass

It was a very beautiful and humbling evening for First Nation women from across Saskatchewan.

Last night in Saskatoon, the Saskatchewan First Nations Women’s Commission held the inaugural Strength of our Women awards.

More than 50 women were nominated in 12 different categories that ranged from outstanding achievement, arts and entertainment to matriarch.

The theme for the evening was the missing and murdered indigenous women issue that has become a focal point for the Saskatchewan First Nations Women’s Commission.

“The gala was very beautiful and it shows the strength of our women,” said Eleanor Sunchild, the recipient of the law and justice award. “It was really nice that they focused on the missing and murdered indigenous women topic because it is so prevalent in our society.”

The winners of the other awards include Sheryl Kimbley for arts and entertainment, Cece Baptiste for business, Karen Rabbitskin for culture and spirituality, Dr. Kim McKay-McNabb for education, Jessica Gordon for environment, Shannon Gatrell for health and wellness, Mary Lou Gloria Chocan for leadership advocacy, Shana Pasapa for Sports, Valyncia Sparvier for youth, Sharon Venne for lifetime achievement.

The matriarch award was given out to the following grandmothers; Lucy Favel, Rose Chief, Yvonne Benjoe, Therese Seeseequasis, Iva Margaret Geddes-McNabb, Irene Naytowhow, Clara (Gopher) Myo, Virginia Pechawis and Eldeen McKay.

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