Local Indigenous women honoured

Leader staff

Five Lesser Slave Lake area Indigenous women were honoured at a recent award ceremony in Edmonton.

“The Esquao Awards highlight the significant role Indigenous women hold in their home, in the healing and development of their communities, and in the building of Alberta,” says a news release from the organizer.

The women received the awards at a ceremony on May 3 at the Edmonton Expo Centre.

Barb Courtorielle, executive director of the Slave Lake Native Friendship Centre, received an Esquao Award for community involvement.

Cathy Cunningham, from Gift Lake, received an award for education. For the last 37 years, she has been an education assistant at Atikameg School.

Mona Ominayak-Auger, executive director of KTC Child and Family Services, received an award for community involvement. KTC stands for Kee Tas Kee Now Tribal Council. KTC Family Services protects children and supports families which are members of Loon River First Nation, Lubicon Lake Band, and Peerless Trout First Nation.

Ominayak-Auger was part of developing the KTC child welfare legislation called ‘Awasak Weyasiwewin,’ which was enacted in May 2023.

Beverly Ward is the health director for Loon River First Nation. She received an Esquao for community involvement.

Tara-Lynn Wardman, from East Prairie Métis Settlement, received one for health and medicine. Wardman is a licensed practical nurse in High Prairie.

Barb Courtorielle (right), from Slave Lake, with her 2024 Esquao Awards on Friday, May 3, 2024 at the Edmonton Expo Centre. Esquao MCs Lowa Beebe is presenting.
Photos courtesy of Nancy Critchley.
Beverly Ward (left), from Loon River first Nation, receives an 2024 Esquao Award from MC Lowa Beebe.

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