Metis Youth Wins National Achievement Award
This year, the National Aboriginal Achievement Awards were held in Vancouver, B.C. on Friday, February 24, 2012. Manitoba's own Candace Sutherland set a great example for young Metis across Canada by being awarded with the Special Youth Award for National Aboriginal Achievement.
Sutherland says this award will show other youth what she's been doing with her life and how she's been living it.
"Youth in Canada go through similar experiences. I want to help them grow, talk to them and let them know they can do more with themselves," said 18-year-old Sutherland. "I know what it's like to think you're coming from nothing, but you have to know that you can better yourself."
Sutherland knows what it's like to be poor and hungry. That's why she devotes her time to helping others. She has donated to charities such as Ma-Mawi-Wi-Itata and Shamattawa Reserve giving back to those who need it most.
Sutherland has been running since she was eight years old, and has already won five marathons. At 13, she was the youngest person ever to compete in the Run Manitoba marathon. Sutherland says she wanted to do a run for poverty because she says there are many children living under the poverty line in Manitoba and throughout the country.
Last year, she completed a run across Canada called “Vision4Hope” in support of four charities: the Salvation Army, the Heart and Stroke Foundation, the Canadian Diabetes Association and the Canadian Cancer Society.
"At my age I've seen so much sadness in the eyes of the children and the eyes of the less fortunate and homeless. I've seen them come to me sick from cancer, diabetes, sick from poverty, sick from heart attacks and strokes. Many of these people passed on after suffering in silence. There are cases where people were not found for days after they passed on. We live in a sad world and sometimes it seems that nobody cares," said Sutherland.
The award came as a surprise to Sutherland. "I guess they just saw everything I was doing in the community and nominated me. I had no idea it was coming."
Sutherland continues her fundraising efforts and speaks to many Metis and First Nations youth about poverty, following their dreams and being proud of their heritage.
"I advise them to keep their heads up and don't worry about others because they can bring you down," said Sutherland. "Smile at the good opportunities. Get up and pursue things."
For Sutherland, being Metis means being able to share your culture and still be proud enough to recognize and show who you are no matter what.
Eventually, Sutherland hopes to go into nursing, but for now she's simply trying to figure out her life and what she wants to do.
The MMF congratulates Candace Sutherland on her National Aboriginal Achievement award and wishes her great success in the future.
Last Updated (Monday, 05 March 2012 10:32)