Together we make Saskatchewan stronger 

Members of Saskatchewan’s multicultural community gathered at Wanuskewin Heritage Park in Saskatoon on November 20, 2021 for MCoS Multicultural Honours to recognize significant contributions to multiculturalism by community members. This annual hallmark event kicks-off Saskatchewan Multicultural Week and our host was His Honour the Honourable Russ Mirasty, Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan.  

Master of Ceremonies and Executive Director of MCoS, Rhonda Rosenberg, began the event by acknowledging that Wanuskewin Heritage Park is in Treaty 6 territory. This land is the traditional meeting ground and homeland of the Nehiyawak/Cree, Saulteaux/Anishnaabeg, Nakota, Dakota, Stoney Nations and Motherland of the Métis/Michif Nation. We recognize the deep and ongoing harms of colonialism and reaffirm our commitment respectful and equitable relationships with this land and its original Peoples. We are all Treaty People, and strive to be good treaty relatives.  

We were honoured to have Muna De Ciman provide the opening blessing, setting the tone for a respectful and meaningful gathering.  

 The Honourable Russ Mirasty, Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan, provided opening remarks, underscoring the realities of the Saskatchewan motto From Many Peoples Strength, and his commitment to reconciliation, inclusion and diversity.   

The Honourable Laura Ross, Minister for Parks, Culture and Sport offered remarks, reiterating the benefits of diversity and the pride that Saskatchewan was the first province to recognize the significance of multiculturalism through legislation in 1974.  

Finally, Meka Okochi, President of the Multicultural Council of Saskatchewan, brought remarks celebrating volunteers and multiculturalism in Saskatchewan. He also encouraged discussion regarding multiculturalism and what makes Saskatchewan strong before introducing the presentation.  

This year’s presentation highlighted Peace Akintade who is an African Canadian interdisciplinary Poet, Public Speaker, and Thespian residing in Saskatoon. Her poems touch on the impact of slavery in her village, colourism, growing up in Kuwait, Nigeria, and Canada, and relearning her culture in the face of colonization.  

Awards Nominees and Recipients 

Meka Okochi, MCoS president; Her Honour Donna Mirasty; His Honour the Honourable Russ Mirasty, Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan; Rhonda Rosenberg, MCoS Executive Director; the Honourable Laura Ross, Minister of Parks, Culture and Sport; Neelu Sachdev, Saskatchewan Multicultural Leadership Award recipient; B’yauling Toni, Multicultural Youth Leadership Award recipient; Tracey Sauer, SGEU president; Ayesha Baig, MCoS Secretary and Chair of the Recognition Committee; and Diane Ralph, SGEU First Vice President 

The MCoS recognition committee, comprised of board and community members, assesses all nominees on their contributions to multiculturalism in Saskatchewan through the five streams of multicultural work – Cultural Continuity, Celebration of Diversity, Anti-Racism, Intercultural Connections, and Integration – and selects the recipients.   

The Saskatchewan Government and General Employees’ Union (SGEU) once again partnered with the Multicultural Council of Saskatchewan to sponsor the Multicultural Youth Leadership Award. SGEU President, Tracey Sauer, brought remarks and introduced the award. Diane Ralph, First Vice President accompanied her. 

This year’s Multicultural Youth Leadership Award nominees are: 

  • Mia Bhatia, who encourages acceptance of South Asian culture and empowers the Indian community through events, fundraisers, and celebrations;  
  • David Camarador, who is an excellent example and mentor to youth, and especially other Filipino and 2SLGBTQ+ youth;   
  • Mwila Munganama has inspired others by advocating for gender and racial equality; 
  • B’yauling Toni, who embarked on a journey of reconciliation by visiting all federal residential school sites by bicycle.  

 The recipient of the 2021 Multicultural Youth Leadership Award is B’yauling Toni. He received an award of $500 from MCoS and SGEU. B’yauling Toni’s awareness of his family’s Austrian–German and Taiwanese cultural heritages, gives him perspective on the deep impact cultural genocide and the intergenerational impacts of residential schools have had on Indigenous Peoples to continue cultural practices and beliefs, not only in Canada but in many countries. He celebrated diversity by practicing meaningful traditions, such as offering tobacco ties and gifts of tiny moccasins to each community. The initiative B’yauling has taken to engage in acts of reconciliation through a 3,000 kilometer cycling tour has led to strong intercultural connections and relationships. With mutual trust and respect, he participated in a celebration of unique histories, cultures, and knowledge with 20 different First Nations communities. An excellent listener, he gained a deeper understanding of cultural similarities and differences, as well as position and power. B’yauling leveraged social media to raise awareness amongst his peers and older audiences. The Moccasins for Remembrance tour raised over $10,000 for the Orange Shirt Society to raise awareness across Canada about the ongoing legacy of Indian residential schools. 

 Ayesha Baig, MCoS Director and Chair of the Recognition Committee, introduced the Saskatchewan Multicultural Leadership Award. In partnership with Dairy Queen and Jim and Michelle Braun, Ayesha Baig presented the nominees and recipient of the 2021 Saskatchewan Multicultural Leadership Award.   

The committee received 3 Saskatchewan Multicultural Leadership Award nominees: 

  • Nelson Eng has a long history of working within the Chinese Canadian community and multicultural community by sponsoring, fundraising and attending events that support multiculturalism and act to end racism; 
  • Pallavi Mozumder is a singer and music teacher who uses her traditional arts to support cultural continuity in Bangladesh and Saskatchewan; 
  • Neelu Sachdev has been contributing to her community both as the executive director of the Regina Immigrant Women Centre (RIWC) since 2003, and through running the Arcola East Bhangra Dancers. 

The 2021 Saskatchewan Multicultural Leadership Award recipient is Neelu Sachdev. She selected Regina Immigrant Women’s Centre for a donation of $500 from MCoS.

Neelu Sachdev has been the executive director of the Regina Immigrant Women Centre (RIWC) since 2003, developing the organization, acting as a strong advocate, and serving newcomers from more than 30 countries. RIWC is now an essential community service organization, providing ongoing supports and training, and her leadership is exemplified in the pivot to online learning during the pandemic. Neelu Sachdev has often been involved in the March 21 anti-racism programs in Regina and other Saskatchewan communities. Neelu Sachdev was frequently called upon following 9-11 and in other times of fear and uncertainty to speak at gatherings. She brought The Gold Bracelet, a movie about the discrimination that followed 9-11, to tour Saskatchewan in 2006 and 2013. Each of the screenings was followed by a community discussion. Her leadership has been integral to the partnership that organizes annual International Women’s Day gatherings at the Mackenzie Art Gallery. 

We had the most amazing time at Wanuskewin last Saturday (20th Nov), seeing the members of our multicultural community at the Honours event.

Congratulations to all the nominees for the 2021 Multicultural Youth Leadership award! The recipient for the 2021 Multicultural Youth Leadership award is B’yauling Toni ??? The recipient for the 2021 Saskatchewan Multicultural Leadership award is Neelu Sachdev ???

We wish you all the best!

     

Lieutenant Governor Russ Mirasty presented the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers to 19 individuals on behalf of Her Excellency the Governor General at a ceremony at Government House in Regina on Sunday, October 17, 2021. 4 multiculturalism leaders nominated by MCoS received this distinction Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers | The Governor General of Canada (gg.ca). The pictures of the event can be accessed by clicking here 2021 Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers — Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan (ltgov.sk.ca).

For more than two decades, Bill Kalmakoff has served as a community representative at province-wide culture meetings of the Saskatoon Doukhobor Society and the Doukhobor Cultural Society of Saskatchewan. He has promoted public awareness of and fostered a greater appreciation for the contributions of Canadian Doukhobors.

Retired physics teacher Krishan Kapila has devoted his life to community leadership with an emphasis on multiculturalism. He has committed his life to the ideal of bringing those of different faiths who reside in Saskatchewan together with the goal of creating mutual respect, awareness and appreciation for one another.

At 75 years old, Saskatchewan’s Carol LaFayette-Boyd was the first Canadian of African descent to win “Best Female Overall Athlete” in World Masters Athletics, which hosts competitions for people 35 and older.

Darlene Stakiw contributes countless hours to building a culturally vibrant and inclusive Saskatchewan. A resident of Yorkton, she volunteers for organizations such as Parkland Valley Sport, Culture and Recreation District, and the Multicultural Council of Saskatchewan, supporting community development, multiculturalism and anti-racism strategies as a board member and/or community coordinator.

A Celebration in Honour of Multicultural Contributions

-Hosted by the Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan through the Multicultural Council of Saskatchewan

Date

Saturday, November 20, 2021

Time

2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Location

Wanuskewin Heritage Park, Saskatoon

The Awards

Saskatchewan Multicultural Leadership Award for outstanding contributions to multiculturalism in Saskatchewan. Priority will be given to nominees who have demonstrated sustained periods of commitment in their contributions. (Jim & Michelle of Dairy Queen partners with MCoS to present this award, which includes a $500 donation to the recipient’s charity of choice.)

Multicultural Youth Leadership Award for promising contributions from people 29 years and under. (The Saskatchewan Government and General Employees’ Union (SGEU) is partnering with MCoS to present this award, which now includes a $500 reward.)

Stay tuned to know the Nominees!

Orange Shirt Day is observed each year on Sept. 30. Orange shirts were chosen as a sign of support based on the story of Phyllis Webstad, who was sent to the St. Joseph Mission Residential School outside of Williams Lake, BC in 1973 at the age of six. For her first day at school Phyllis proudly wore an orange shirt that her grandmother had managed to save enough money to buy for her, only to have the mission staff take it away and force her to wear a school uniform.

In recognizing September 30, 2021 as the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, the Diversity and Inclusion Network proudly present an online Virtual Honouring for residential school children who did not make it home, survivors, descendants and their communities.

Register here- https://bit.ly/3hfivPC

The virtual event will include inspiring speakers such as Elder Lorna Standingready and Chief Cadmus Delorme; video clips from Cyclist, B’yauling Toni’s tours of Saskatchewan residential schools; and, traditional First Nation and Métis performances!

The Diversity and Inclusion Network is a community of practice network whose purpose is to share best practices, learn about various topics together and collaborate on initiatives. The Diversity and Inclusion Network organizes events such as the National Indigenous Peoples Day Celebrations on June 21st and Orange Shirt Day on September 30th in honour of residential school survivors.

Please note: This event is on September 29 and it will begin at 10:45AM, Saskatchewan time.

 

More Events:

 

National Day for Truth and Reconciliation Event
Presented by the Regina Public Library

The Regina Public Library will host a lunch-hour event for the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. Elder Marjorie Lavallee will open the event with a song and blessing. There will be a drum group providing an honour song, a jingle dance performance along with the attendance of special guest and local author Bevann Fox. Bannock and tea will be served at the event.

Date: September 30, 2021
Time: 12 – 1 p.m.
Location: Central Library, Mezzanine

Event Agenda

  • Elder Marjorie Lavallee will open with a song and blessing
  • Drum group provide honor song
  • Bevann Fox, author of Genocidal Love

Bevann Fox is a member of Pasqua First Nation, originally from Piapot First Nation. In 2012 she received her Bachelor of Arts in Arts and Culture and in 2018, her Master in Business Administration, Leadership from the University of Regina. In 2014 she was honoured with the YWCA Women of Distinction Award—Arts, Culture and Heritage. She received an Indigenous Voices Award for Genocidal Love, which was also honoured with two Saskatchewan Book Awards.

  • Jingle dance performance
  • Bannock and tea provided


Orange Shirt Day Virtual Presentation

Presented by the Royal Saskatchewan Museum

In celebration of Orange Shirt Day, the Royal Saskatchewan Museum is hosting a virtual presentation with Life Speaker and Residential School Survivor, Tim Poitras from Muscowpetung First Nation. Tim Poitras will speak about his residential school experience. Musician and youth mentor Brad Bellegarde Brad, aka InfoRed, will share his song “I Remember”, honouring his parents as residential school survivors.

Date: September 30, 2021
Time: 2 – 2:45 p.m.
Location: live stream

Stay tuned for the live streaming link. For more information about the event, visit the Royal Saskatchewan Museum’s website.


National Day for Truth and Reconciliation Events
Presented by Wanuskewin Heritage Park
If you would like to participate in any of the upcoming Wanuskewin events, please view the event’s poster.

 

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A Celebration in Honour of Multicultural Contributions

Hosted by the Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan through the Multicultural Council of Saskatchewan

 

MCoS Multicultural Honours Award Nominations

October 1, 2021

The Awards

Saskatchewan Multicultural Leadership Award for outstanding contributions to multiculturalism in Saskatchewan. Priority will be given to nominees who have demonstrated sustained periods of commitment in their contributions. (The Saskatchewan Government and General Employees’ Union (SGEU) is partnering with MCoS to present this award, which includes a $500 donation to the recipient’s charity of choice.)

Multicultural Youth Leadership Award for promising contributions from people 29 years and under. (The Saskatchewan Government and General Employees’ Union (SGEU) is partnering with MCoS to present this award, which now includes a $500 reward.)

Eligibility: Living Saskatchewan residents are eligible for nomination with the following exceptions:

  • Anyone who is currently serving as an MCoS Board member, committee member or staff or has served in the past 2 years is not eligible
  • Immediate family members of such board members or staff are not eligible
  • People holding or seeking political office are not eligible
  • Members of the judiciary who still hold office are not eligible
  • Any past recipients of any MCoS award cannot be nominated for the same award.

Criteria: All nominees will be evaluated on how their contributions align with the five streams of multicultural work:

  1. Cultural Continuity
  2. Celebration of Diversity
  3. Anti-Racism
  4. Intercultural Connections
  5. Integration.

Preference will be given to the person who demonstrates the most significant contributions to all five streams of work.

How to Write a Strong Nomination Application 

READ MORE AND NOMINATE NOW!

 

 

June marks National Indigenous History Month in Canada.
We stand in solidarity and extend our deepest sympathy with the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation and all Indigenous people impacted by residential schools. This month also marks the 25th anniversary of National Indigenous Peoples Day, held annually on June 21st.

According to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, at least 150,000 Indigenous children attended residential schools in Canada from the late 1800s to 1997. This is not just a ‘dark chapter’ in our country’s past- the ideas of racism that justified colonization continue to be embedded in our society, institutions, interpersonal interactions and ideas about ourselves. Indigenous communities continue to face systemic oppression, trauma, inequity, and discrimination to this very day.

We recognize that our vision of building a welcoming community, a community that demonstrates equity and inclusion to benefit from the contributions of all members, can only be achieved by acknowledging the history and working towards decolonization and true reconciliation.

You can learn more about the heritage, diverse cultures and outstanding contributions of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples by visiting Celebrating National Indigenous History Month, by reading a digital copy of one of the books from the Indigenous Reads-reading list or by exploring some of the resources listed below.

Events-

 

Click here for more EVENTS

During the month of May, we acknowledge the long and rich history of Asian Canadians and their contributions to Canada. Many Saskatchewan residents are of Asian heritage including, but not limited to Afghani, Bangladeshi, Chinese, Indian, Iranian, Iraqi, Japanese, Karen, Korean, Laotian, Nepalese, Pakistani, Filipino, and Vietnamese. Canada’s cultural diversity strengthens the country socially, politically and economically in innumerable ways. Asian Heritage Month is an ideal occasion for all to celebrate the rich values, beliefs and cultural expressions of various Asian cultures.

MCoS is presenting a virtual forum to discuss Our Stories of Anti-Asian Racism on Wednesday, 27th May.

To watch the recording, click here

 

Other events

Resources

READ MORE ABOUT ASIAN HERITAGE MONTH