Whitefish River First Nation residents receive Lifetime Achievement Awards

Whitefish River Chief Shining Turtle along with Finian and Lynn Paibomesai, also of Whitefish River, were presented with Anishinabek Lifetime Achievement Awards at the 20th annual Anishinabek Evening of Excellence.

RAMA, ONTARIO—Whitefish River Chief Shining Turtle along with Finian and Lynn Paibomesai, all of Whitefish River First Nation, are three of 10 people who received Anishinabek Lifetime Achievement Awards at the 20th annual Anishinabek Evening of Excellence, hosted by the Anishinabek Nation 7th Generation Charity. Every year the awards are presented to acknowledge and bring awareness to Anishinaabe citizens who have made a lifetime commitment to improving the quality of life on First Nations. These people are recognized as ‘building blocks’ to improving the lives of Anishinabek citizens and the Anishinabek Nation as a whole. 

“This year marked our 20th annual event in which we present Lifetime Achievement Awards,” general manager Jason Restoule told the Recorder on Monday. “This is a charity event, the first awards night was held in 1999, and the highlight of the evening is the presentation of the lifetime achievement awards.” He said that since its inception a little over 300 of these awards have been given out.

“We presented 10 Lifetime Achievement Awards this year,” said Mr. Restoule. He explained that the award to Ogimaa Shining Turtle, was “for his many years as working as chief in Whitefish First Nation, but also for his work throughout the whole Anishinabek Nation.”

In the biography delivered at the award for Ogimaa Shining Turtle-Whitefish First Nation (political leadership), it was stated, “our next recipient is a proud leader in the community of Whitefish River First Nation, and also a positive role model that plays an important role in the lives of many.

“Not only is he a regular participant in community events like local school graduations, ceremonies, festivals, barbecues and celebrations, he is also a key member and leader in the development of his First Nation and services like health and education.

“He was an integral part of the creation of Mnidoo Mnising Power, a partnership between the United Chiefs and Councils of Mnidoo Mnising First Nations, McLean’s Mountain Wind Farm and Northland Power that is worth over $180 million dollars and brings sustainable, non-toxic energy that will last for generations.
“A dynamic advocate for Anishinaabek culture, he actively participates in traditional ceremonies and ensures the Anishinabek world view, traditions and teachings as well as traditional healing services are included and provided. And you shouldn’t expect less from the man who leads Whitefish River First Nation as chief.

“The list goes on in what he has done for his community and the Anishinabek Nation as a whole. We are all thankful to have a great leader that is relentless in the pursuit of revitalization of our culture and tradition.”

“It is my pleasure to join you in welcoming Ogimaa Shining Turtle to the stage to accept his Anishinabek Lifetime Achievement Award in the category of Political Leadership.”

Finian and Lynn Paibomesai received Lifetime Achievement Awards (together) for the arts. Their biography reads, “these two individuals have been married for more than 43 years and he has been producing traditional Indigenous artwork throughout those years while she has been his main supporter, foregoing her career to support him and his artwork while also becoming an artist in her own right. Their paintings and art show many aspects of the Seven Grandfather teachings and a connection to the land.”

“Losing two of their sons at birth because of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), they’ve used the challenges they’ve been given to succeed and inspire a generation of people with their artwork. Their pursuit of art while raising their two daughters, Marion and Marlene, after such a tragedy demonstrates the human experiences and the joys and challenges of creating art for a living.

“With that, we’d like to congratulate Finian and Lynn Paibomesai from Whitefish River First Nation for their Anishinabek Lifetime Achievement Award in the category of Arts.” 

The Anishinabek Evening of Excellence began as the Anishinabek Lifetime Achievement Awards in 1999. At that time, the goal of the event was to bring awareness to our Anishinabek Nation citizens who have succeeded in various professional endeavours. The idea was to recognize those individuals who have taken us from reservations to First Nations. People who have made a lifetime commitment to improving the quality of life on First Nations through volunteerism, political service, language preservation, health services, social services, personal achievement, cultural practice, and those who are survivors of residential school or who served in the military, said a press release.

The awards were presented at the Casino Rama in Rama, Ontario on August 15.