The FNHA's Office of the Chief Medical Officer received almost 100 heart-warming entries telling us about the special First Nations fathers or father figures in your lives.
We greatly enjoyed reading about all the amazing First Nations men living in BC and the good work they are doing for their families and communities. It was very difficult to choose just five to receive gift cards.
Thank you to everyone who entered the contest, and congratulations to the winners!
And the winners are:
My dad, Kil-haten (Marvin Leon), is my muse, my mentor, and our family's patriarchal pillar. My dad is the hardest worker I know. He is up before the sun rises and goes to work bright and early. When he gets home his day is not done; he is always outside working or supporting his family doing various activities, preparing for the seasons, and working hard with his hands and his heart. My dad is the true definition of humble, kind, loving, and being the jack of all trades with the most creative brain around. He will do anything for his family from ceremony to weddings, birthday parties, and so much more. My dad lives and breathes our culture and he is a great mentor to all. He is well known in our community for being so selfless -- others look up to him! I admire my dad so much because I know there is nothing he cannot accomplish. He has never failed to provide or make things creative for every generation in our family. He is pure love and light. Dad, Pa, Kil-haten, our number one, we love you! – submitted by Kristin Leon
Mitchell Shuter, Nlaka'pamux, Lower Nicola Indian Band
Hen̓łeʔ | Hello! I have always expressed my gratitude for being blessed with the best dad ever – Mitchell Shuter. Most people don't get to choose their parents, but I got to choose my dad. My father never had any biological children, but he has been the best of friends with my mom, aunts, and uncles throughout their whole lives in the Nicola Valley. My father has always been there for me in a supportive and encouraging role. My father has done everything in his power to help me succeed in life since I was 12. My father has been by my side during two college graduations and my high school graduation. If it weren't for him, I'd never be doing my dream job nursing in our small community. My dad has played the old man role to many people over the years. He has coached women's fastball for longer than I've been alive, as well as women's basketball for a handful of years. He loves sports almost as much as he loves his Star Wars. On top of coaching, and being a role model and supporter to those around him, my dad also co-owns two restaurants and is the founder of a scholarship for returning students at the Nicola Valley Institute of Technology. This man never stops helping those around him or those who need it. I have always been, and always will be, in awe of what my dad has accomplished. My father is my strength, my biggest supporter and most importantly, my greatest coach. kʷukʷscémxʷ -- submitted by Ashleigh Dawson
Ernie Rice Jr, Malahat, lives in Cowichan Territory (Vancouver Island)
Ernie Rice Jr is a relative who became my father figure after I lost my father to suicide. Ernie guided me through a lot over the years – including through relationships, health issues, and employment. He supported me through thick and thin, like a father would. We reconnected after my father's death at church in Cowichan. The community here in Cowichan knows we are related and how close we have become, and have so much respect for him. One day I asked a friend for a cigarette even though I don't usually smoke. He said “No," and I was like, “Why not?" He said, “Because if Ernie found out I gave you a smoke, I would get in trouble!" I thought that was so funny. I told Ernie and he laughed. Growing up, my dad was my best friend. So when I lost him it was hard. In our culture, older family members always step up for each other's children when they become orphans. And Ernie has done that. He has become my best friend. My Pa Pa. I love learning from him, and talking with him about everything. – submitted by Mary Hillaire
Paul, Tsleil-Waututh First Nation
My dad, Paul, is the
most resilient, fascinating, and kind person I know. He is a survivor of the
Sixties’ Scoop, and grew up being raised British and white. He faced
unimaginable physical abuse at the hands of his foster family, and lost a
foster sibling (our uncle from Squamish Nation) when he was a teenager. Despite
the trauma he faced as a young man, my dad grew up seeing the best in others
and always wanting to help those in need. He ended the cycle of abuse, and has
been the kindest and most supportive dad a young Indigenous person could ever
hope to have. He now lives as a grandpa, husband, father, role model, and
overall amazing man. He embodies Indigenous resilience and excellence, and he
inspires me every day to work towards the betterment of our community, family,
and world with a gentle heart. – submitted by Alison Cuffley
Brandon Matthew Peters, Xaxli'p Nation
I'd like to honour and celebrate my husband Brandon. We met in Squamish in high school and have been together going on 18 years. We have four children (ages 11,9,7 and 5), three of whom are neurodiverse on the autism spectrum. He works so hard for our family, mostly being the only one to work outside our home. He was once a rock splitter swinging a heavy axe all day, and for the past 10 years now he's been doing rebar. He's so good at his job they say he does the work of five men, and when he isn't there it is noticed and he is missed. He's the best father to our children, and I don't know what we would ever do without him. Not only does he work outside the home, he's also our cook and an amazing awesome cook at that. He can do a whole turkey dinner by himself! He wears soo many hats in this family, and he's always helping out and there for anybody, always giving advice. I'd even say he's kind of a father figure to his younger siblings at times. He is the most amazing grandson/son/nephew/brother/friend/husband/father/uncle, and anybody who meets him just adores his energy. Having four children, with three on the spectrum means we literally never get to go out on a date, so I would love to treat him and make him feel special for Father's Day like he deserves. – submitted by Gail Joseph