DAREarts celebrates two young Indigenous men

Friday, May 5th, 2017 11:55am


Image Caption

Eric Shewaybick from Webequie First Nation

Jack Linklater Jr. of Attawapiskat First Nation

Six young people were honored at the DAREarts Leadership Awards Gala on Thursday, May 4, including Eric Shewaybick from Webequie First Nation, and Jack Linklater Jr. of Attawapiskat First Nation.

Webequie First Nation Chief Cornelius Wabasse and Matawa First Nations Management CEO David Paul Achneepineskum sent their congratulations to Shewaybick and the other winners.

DAREarts is a national charity that empowers at-risk children with confidence and courage through the arts. They attend Indigenous communities by invitation and deliver arts programming that aligns with their culture, exposing the Indigenous children to creative learning opportunities and hope for the future.

They have been in a number of Matawa communities including Webequie and Marten Falls First Nations on a “Spirit Bear” project, reads a press statement. The project will be featured this summer at the Stratford Festival’s Indigenous production of The Breathing Hole.

“As a leader, I support young people in their journey and who become role models for their community and families. I encourage them to continue to pursue their dreams and ambitions,” said Wabasse.

The annual gala celebrates the power of the arts to ignite change in the lives of Canadian at-risk children. Each of the six youths was awarded a medallion and financial support.

In the biography for Eric Shewaybick, he says he has lost many family members and friends through addiction and suicide. He described himself as a troublemaker in school where he had failing grades and dropped out of courses because of things he did growing up.

DAREarts enabled him to show his skills and express himself in new positive ways. It helped him build his confidence and he began opening up and expressing himself through creating.

Now in his 20s, he has become a positive role model in his community, using his strengths and knowledge to show a path for those who need it most. He wants to work for his people and someday be the chief of his community.

Jack Linklater Jr.’s bio tells readers that Jack dealt with living in poverty and overcrowding in his household, where he lived with 15 other people.

One summer, his home caught on fire; he managed to save the lives of his two nieces. He feels that the media are showing Attawapiskat as a bad place. But working with DAREarts and developing the Reimagining Attawapiskat website is allowing him and other young people to inform the people of Canada about the good of the community: the way its people see it as their home.

Linklater sees himself as a positive role model as he encourages others to help the community in positive ways. His goal is to attend university, study Indigenous Health and Wellness and work in addiction prevention within Attawapiskat First Nation and become grand chief for the Mushkegowuk Territory.

The other winners are Kiranpreet Kaur Bhangu, Etobicoke, Ont., Jaiden Downey, Toronto, Ont., Samira Henry, Etobicoke, Ont., Ivan Patrik Montelibano, Etobicoke, Ont. and Elijah Brown, Scarborough, Ont.

“We are always happy to see young people being an inspiration to themselves and others in their community,” said Achneepineskum. “We have certainly appreciated DAREarts in our Matawa communities.”