Debajehmujig Storytellers celebrate volunteers, establish two new awards

Margaret Jackson, left, and Jeannette Corbiere-Lavell took on their roles as flappers with great gusto at the Debajehmujig Storytellers volunteer appreciation murder mystery dinner theatre event, held last Thursday. photos by Michael Erskine

MANITOWANING – A veritable army of volunteers help to ensure successful events at the Debajehmujig Storytellers’ Creation Centre in Manitowaning. On Thursday, January 30, those volunteers were sent on a mission to investigate murder most foul as the venerable theatre company held an invitation only murder mystery dinner as thanks.

The evening was a who’s who of Debaj volunteers, nearly all in costume and character and hilarity ensued at every turn. In honour of the occasion, Debajehmujig established two new volunteer awards, with the inaugural award presentations going to those awards’ namesakes. The awards were constructed of small grey stone obelisks surmounted by a metal petroglyph, crafted by One KWE of M’Chigeeng. 

The first recipient of the Cassandra Odjig Volunteer Award went to perennial volunteer Cassandra Odjig, who could not make it to the ceremony but who provided a touching video acceptance speech.

The first recipient of the Marjorie Trudeau Award went to longtime board member and volunteer of 30 years Marjorie Trudeau.

“I have enjoyed working with Debajehmujig all these years,” said Ms. Trudeau in accepting the award. “Although I don’t do as much as I used to be able to, I still enjoy working with everyone.”

“We can’t say enough about how much we appreciate all of the help provided by our volunteers,” said Debajehmujig Executive Director Lynda Trudeau. “We just couldn’t do what we do without you. Chi-miigwetch, chi-miigwetch, chi-miigwetch.”

Ms. Trudeau was assisted in handing out the rest of the more than 30 appreciation awards by master of ceremonies Christianna Jones. Those awards consisted of a wooden slab charcuterie board, also crafted by One KWE and including the same petroglyph design woodburned onto the surface of the board.

The dinner, prepared and served by the Debaj staff, consisted of a full turkey dinner with all the trimmings. A cash bar courtesy of Rainbow Ridge ensured there was a good selection with which to wash down the repast and there was plenty of non-alcoholic beverages on hand as well.

The rest of the evening consisted of a mix and mingle of characters as the dinner attendees attempted to sleuth out who the murderer was. Laughter and animated conversation filled the Larry Lewis Creation Centre hall until the culprit was unveiled.

Michael Eshkawkogan was the only participant to successfully unmask the culprit and secure bragging rights.

As part of the evening’s festivities each participant received a stack of $300 in murder mystery cash with which to bribe and lubricate witnesses—Jackie White was the undisputed master of the pocketbook by evening’s end, amassing a fortune well in excess of $4,000, handily winning the Moneybags Award.