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Each year, the Active Elder Award recognizes inspirational Elders who are active and share their traditional activities or knowledge. The Active Elder Award recognizes and honours community role models.
2020 Active Elder
Elizabeth Hardisty; Łı́ı́dlı̨ı̨ Kų́ę́ / Fort Simpson
Elizabeth always challenges herself at her age to participate and to be active as much as she can to encourage others to challenge themselves and take positive steps in improvements for their health. She always says “Just try, you never know what will come out of it unless you try”. She’s always willing to help and willing to teach you a skill to move positively forward in good health.
She is a skillful traditional woman, who has gone through so much these past few years and is bouncing back.
Elizabeth is currently in the community garden society and participates with the Friendship Centre to sewing with youth and community members during the winter months. Elizabeth is always there to help and doesn’t ask for anything in return.
She also sat on many community organizations boards in previous years, so members seek her advice and support. She has been a translator/interpreter since a young age and translates for community meetings and for a lot of other organizations when hired. Elizabeth is always willing to share our traditional language with everyone who comes across her path.
2019 Active Elder
Lena and Henry McKay - Fort Resolution
Henry and Lena are wonderful role models for the community of Fort Resolution. At 75, they remain active, working together and living off the land. They follow the seasons, using what is available to them from the land, from trapping in the winter to setting nets in the summer. They are known for always providing meat, fish, and other delicacies to many Elders and youth.
In addition to sharing what they harvest, Lena and Henry are always available to share their teachings with others in the community.
Most recently, they helped facilitate workshops for an on the land culture camp in partnership with the Soaring Eagle Friendship Center and K’atl’odeeche First Nation. Some of the activities they taught included plucking and fixing ducks, flushing beavers, preparing fish, making stretchers for and skinning muskrats. Henry also taught gun safety and shared traditional knowledge of the land, while Lena showed the youth how to make bannock and prepare traditional foods.
Because of their hard work and determination to pass on and share traditional knowledge, Henry and Lena have taught many people in their community about respect for the land and how to survive and lead a healthy lifestyle no matter what circumstances are given to you. They are a wonderful team, and together they are always giving back, sharing, teaching, and working hard each day.
2018 Active Elder
Eunice Nasogaluak - Tuktoyaktuk
Eunice has lived in Tuktoyaktuk for the past 52 years and enjoys being part of the community. She gives back in so many ways, through music, teaching, sharing her language, and volunteering at community events. Eunice has been part of the Walk to Tuk challenge for the past few years, keeping active and encouraging others to do the same.
She is also an active singer, dancer, and drummer, and is always ready to share her skills with the youth. Eunice enjoys playing bass guitar for old time dances and community gatherings, and volunteering with the Tuktoyaktuk Music Festival.
Eunice takes advantage of every opportunity to share her language and culture with young people in the community.
2017 Active Elder
Marie Horassi - Fort Simpson
Marie is an active member of the community, attending community meetings, drum dances, and traditional events. She has shown a dedication and positive attitude towards the Elders in Motion program and is involved in many community activities, such as harvesting crops and picking berries.
When not in Fort Simpson, Marie spends her time in Tulìt'a helping her children with the fall hunt, where she can be seen preparing wild meat for storage, and making dry meat and dry fish.
2016 Active Elder
Bella Nitsiza - Whati
Bella is a retired community teacher, who continues to offer her traditional knowledge expertise and skills to the youth and children by way of her busy activities around her home and the community. Bella attends as many community events as she can while actively caring for her family, friends and community. She is fondly admired by many for all her past and present endeavours especially by her past students for her caring and kindness.
2015 Active Elder
Allen Joss - Ulukhaktok
Allen is an active elder in the community of Ulukhaktok.
Allen promotes and encourages everyone to respect our land, all animals, fish, and birds for future generations.He is an active 77 years old yet he continues to be active.
He is still an active guide for big game hunts. He is a great role model in our community. He is a very well respected Elder.
He still actively hunts for his family and the community by snowmobile, ATV and boat. He shares his extensive knowledge of traditional hunting/fishing areas, tracking and hunting skills, meat and skin preparation and on the land skills with anyone he travels with and during on the land trips for school students.
2014 Active Elders
Wilfred Jackson - Fort Good Hope
Wilfred is an active elder in the community of Fort Good Hope. He is always providing for the people by fishing and hunting. Wilfred is also a cancer survivor, and loves giving back to his community by teaching the youth about their culture, and how important it is to never lose connection with your roots. If you ask around, everyone knows who he is, and what he does. Congratulations Wilfred!
Madeline Catholique - Lutsel K'e
Madeline is the oldest female in her community and is still very active making traditional hides, tanning sewing and beading. Madeline shares her traditional knowledge by teaching at the school, showing women how to scrape and tan caribou and moose hides and she helps with the womens sewing group. To this day she still works on moose hides in the summer/fall months and in the winter she prepares the caribou hides.
Madeline continues to exercise and goes on the land camping and hunting to the annual spring and fall hunts to the barrenlands. Madeline is a much respected Elder in her community and has a passion to share her culture and traditions.
Rona Williams - Yellowknife
Rona is an excellent example of an active, community-involved senior and is an inspiration. Rona is a proud and active grandmother and she loves to walk and bike and has been participating in the weekly tai chi class.
Rona is a certified tai chi instructor that has involved numerous hours of tai chi training and weekend workshops. Rona teaches tai chi in Yellowknife and also teaches chair tai chi to the residents of Aven Manor who do not have the physical ability to stand and do exercises.
“I am inspired by Rona’s quiet encouragement to each senior to participate according to their ability, her grace, and her honesty in knowing the need to ‘keep moving’ even on days when it isn’t always easy.”
— Linda Henry
2013 Active Elders
Violet Beaulieu – Fort Resolution
Violet is an eighty years old with the mind and energy of twenty year old! You can find her at any physical activity event happening in Fort Resolution from Nordic walking to curling and workout videos. When there is a Nordic walking session happening in the community, Violet walks from her home on the highway about 1.5km away to the Elders Facility to participate in the group walk and then walks back again. Violet is definitely the leader of the pack and is the person to keep up too on the walks!
Through various workshops and training the NWTRPA staff have seen Violet in action and she is definitely a role model for not only her community but everyone she meets! During community workout videos the organizer has said “no one can keep up with her”! She is just amazing and it is an honour to present this award to Violet Beaulieu!
Gabriel Kochon – Fort Good Hope
Gabe is 84 years old and still goes out on the land with his wife Sarah. When Gabe is on the land he hauls wood, checks his nets, traps and hauls water.
Gabe often speaks on the local radio, attends community meetings and Elders workshops.
It is an honour to present this award to such an amazing Elder.
2010 Active Elder
Marcel Norn – Fort Resolution
Marcel Norn was a very active person for his age. He lived most of his life in Fort Resolution. For 13 years he lived and worked in Pine Point. Unfortunately due to suffering a heart attack in 1987, he was unable to work any longer. He had never been sick before, so he had to make adjustments in his life. The Doctor had told him to exercise, so he began walking every morning. He also changed the way he ate. He no longer used butter, he also stopped eating bacon and stayed away from fatty foods. He also used to smoke but gave up that bad habit. After he began to have problems with shortness of breath, Marcel underwent triple bypass surgery 5 years ago.
Marcel firmly believed that walking and watching what he ate helped his health. Not only did he walk consistently (even using a treadmill in the bad weather), but he also was an avid member of the Elders in Motion exercise group in Fort Resolution. He said that he used to always get leg cramps and he had tried medication, but that did not work. Since doing the exercises, he never got the leg cramps again.
We were deeply saddened to hear about the passing of Marcel Norn. Marcel was a great advocate of the Elders in Motion Program, and was our first Elders in Motion Champion. Our heartfelt condolences go out to Marcel’s family, and the community of Fort Resolution.
"Walking is good for you, walk and listen to the doctor."
– Marcel Norn (2010 Active Elder)
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