Sports, cultural organizations recognized for reconciliation efforts in P.E.I.
Four P.E.I. organizations were honoured at the third annual L'nuey Reconciliation Recognition Awards in Charlottetown on Thursday.
Recipients were chosen based on a series of criteria that serves to recognize, respect, and include the Mi'kmaq of P.E.I. "in such a way that it creates a positive and inclusive Island community with lasting impacts for future generations."
"Epekwitk will continue to thrive if we work with one another, and these recipients have shown genuine outstanding examples of how we can do that together," Chief Junior Gould of Abegweit First Nation, said in a press release.
The Charlottetown Islanders, Summerside Western Capitals, King's Playhouse and River Clyde Pageant were recognized for their efforts to advance reconciliation in the province.
"It is encouraging to see more people each year here in Epekwitk taking their own initiative to support the Mi'kmaq and foster a more caring and inclusive Island community," Lennox Island Chief Darlene Bernard said in the release.
"We are pleased to give special recognition to those who have made a true effort to promote reconciliation and look forward to recognizing more of our allies in the future."
Hockey teams honoured
The Summerside Western Capitals were recognized for their efforts to raise awareness about residential school survivors by hosting an Every Child Matters game in 2021.
In addition to wearing orange jerseys created in consultation with First Nations, the Western Capitals also visited Lennox Island to learn about Truth and Reconciliation, meet with the community's children, and hand out free tickets for the Every Child Matters game.
Player Connor Keogh accepted the award on behalf of the team.
"It was pretty special to have the chance to do that and not only do that and educate ourselves, but have the chance to go down to Lennox Island and spend some time with them and hand out tickets and then have the chance to wear the jerseys and in front of all those kids at the game," he said.
"It was a pretty big deal for us and I think for them, too."
The Charlottetown Islanders were also recognized Thursday, for their efforts to host the team's first-ever Orange Jersey Day in honour of residential school survivors and the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
Craig Foster, president of operations for the team, accepted the award.
"We worked very closely with the community here and made sure that we had all the in-game experiences… We had the drum ceremony at the beginning which is pretty emotional, getting to be that close and watch it and you know it was really, really cool," he said.
"We look at ourselves as trying to be [in a] leadership role … it's nice to know that we're moving forward in the path of reconciliation to make things better."
Arts organizations awarded for Indigenous programming
Two arts organizations were also recognized Thursday: the Kings Playhouse, and the River Clyde Pageant.
Megan Stewart, artistic director of the River Clyde pageant, accepted the award. She said reconciliation is an important part of what they do as a community-focused organization.
"We're creating performances that tell the stories of Islanders and of this land, and a crucial part of that story is the Mi'kmaq," she said.
"We're really committed to the pageant being a place where all Islanders can see themselves represented. And that means engaging with the Mi'kmaq, with settlers, with newcomers, and sort of bringing all of those people together to tell their stories."