JUNE 20, 2024 – On June 20, we gathered for the 23rd annual Keeping the Fires Burning at the RBC Convention Centre in Winnipeg. The event was a success, with over 800 community members, relatives, friends, family, and honoured guests in attendance.

This year’s theme was Gichi-Anishinaabeg Ogikendaasowin: Gikino’amaage Abinoojiyag Dago Zaagi’idiiwin, or, Intergenerational Love: Learning from our Elders. The themewas inspired by the vigilance, guidance, and commitment of Elders and Knowledge Keepers in maintaining and advocating for the teachings, ceremonies, and traditional ways of being that are passed down to the children and youth of Indigenous communities everywhere.

As it was said in this year’s program, “It is through our Elders and Knowledge Keepers – role models, mentors, and teachers – that youth will be guided, inspired, and motivated to embrace Mino Pimatisiwin: the Good Life.”

Over the past 23 years, Keeping the Fires Burning has honoured 163 First Nations, Metis, and Inuit Knowledge Keepers, each person contributing in their own way to the wellbeing of Indigenous peoples.

This year, we proudly welcomed another eight individuals into the Circle of Honour:

  • Candace Neumann, Oscar Lathlin Memorial Award Winner
  • Grandmother Therese Dettanikkeaze, sponsored by Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak
  • The late Grandmother Marilyn Fontaine, sponsored by Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre
  • Grandmother Marileen Bartlett, sponsored by Aboriginal Council of Winnipeg
  • Grandfather Donald Roulette, sponsored by Manitoba Metis Federation
  • Grandmother Beverley Courchene, sponsored by Manitoba Moon Voices Inc.
  • Grandfather Henry Traverse, sponsored by Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs
  • Grandmother Jennifer Wood, sponsored by Ka Ni Kanichihk Inc.
  • Grandmother Pauline Mitsuk, sponsored by Tunngasugit

Congratulations to all our inductees and chi-miigwetch for your profound continuing and resounding impact in our communities.

We want to thank everyone who supported  Keeping the Fires Burning this year, from our Organizing Circle to the Ka Ni Kanichihk Council; as well as our volunteers, Elders, and Knowledge Keepers.

A HUGE thank you as well to our evening emcees, Shaneen Robinson-Desjarlais and Davey Gott; Council Co-Chairs Sydney Levasseur-Puhach & Ken Sanderson for their welcoming address; Addy Genaille from the Butterfly Club for a wonderful land acknowledgement; Elder Carl Stone for our opening prayer; Elder Martha Peet (Tookanacheak) for the lighting of the Qulliq; Manitoba Minister of Families, Hon. Nahanni Fontaine, for her attendance, speech, and co-presentation of the Oscar Lathlin Memorial Award alongside our very own Executive Director Dodie Jordaan; Dr. Lisa Monkman for her honour song; Ray ‘Co-Co’ Stevenson & Rhonda James for hosting the grand entry; our evening entertainers, the Ivan Flett Memorial Dancers and musician Morgan Grace; and the Whitehorse Spirit Singers for their Retreat Song.

We would also like to thank all of our sponsors for this year’s event:

Champion Sponsor: Manitoba Indigenous Inclusion Secretariat

Patron Sponsors: Johnston Group, Little Saskatchewan Abinoonjiag Niigan: Jordan’s Principle, Manitoba Institute of Trades and Technology, & MKO MMIWG Liaison Unit

Corporate Table Sponsors: Aki Energy Inc., Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, Assiniboine Credit Union, Indigenous Inclusion Directorate, Klinic Community Health, Linking Hope, Median Credit Union, National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, NorWest Co-op Community Centre, Royal Bank of Canada, The Forks Renewal Corporation, The North West Company, The Wawanesa Mutual Insurance Company, & The Winnipeg Foundation

Chi-Miigwetch to all those involved and all those who attended the 23rd Annual Keeping the Fires Burning gathering. We hope you join us again next year.