I was awarded with a National Aboriginal Achievement Award back in February. It was in the area of Media and Communications. It was in recognition of thirty years spent in newspapers, radio and television and in recognition of the example my career and success has provided our people.
We were in Vancouver and I was in the company of fourteen other outstanding Aboriginal Canadians. We were honored for achievement in fifteen diverse categories ranging from the arts to politics to health and science. To stand in the company of people like that was an honor in itself.
There was a gala celebration that was attended by Aboriginal dignitaries, former award winners and representatives of the Canadian government and leading corporate and business leaders. I wore a suit and tie for the second time in the last twenty years, so you know that it was a pretty big deal.
There were over three thousand people in that theatre that night. The gala was taped for television broadcast later and the production was spectacular. There were native dancers and musicians. There singers and more Aboriginal celebrities than you could swing a hunk of frybread at.
To hold an award that recognized a life of accomplishment was a pretty heady thing and I almost broke into tears looking out over that audience clapping and cheering as I held my award in the spotlight. But what I felt most as I stood there was a genuine feeling of gratitude.
I thought of the thousands of aboriginal young people who would see that gala presentation. I thought about the great gift of example the fifteen of us were able to provide that night and I thought about how valuable and irreplaceable the power of example is in the lives of our children.
It was an honor of the greatest kind to allow my life and work to stand as an example. I believe that each of us represented the example of what is possible when you dare to dream big and then act on that dream to make it come true.
If there was only one aboriginal youth who was empowered by what took place on that stage, it was valuable. If the our stories of struggle to achieve, our commitment to our dreams, helped one person to persevere, changed the direction of one life then that is honor enough for me.