Aboriginal Youth Achievement Award

Aboriginal Youth Achievement Award

Award ceremony June 22, 2023

The annual Calgary Aboriginal Urban Affairs Committee (CAUAC) Aboriginal Youth Achievement Award is open to all Indigenous youth, including First Nations and non-status, Métis, and Inuit. Nominees must be between the ages of 14-24, and attending a junior or senior high school, or a post-secondary institution. As well, nominees must be living within Calgary city limits or attending a Calgary school.

The Aboriginal Youth Achievement Award recognizes youth who:

  • Are leaders in their community and among their peers.
  • Display a strong commitment to achieving their educational goals.
  • Support and encourage others to pursue their education.
  • Encourage and participate in cross-cultural activities involving Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities.

The Award recipient will be also given the opportunity to represent Indigenous youth as a member of the Calgary Aboriginal Urban Affairs Committee. The winner of the award will receive a bursary worth $1,000.

2023 award

Award ceremony

2023 Award winner

Danyka (Aahwanakii) LaBelle

Danyka (Aahwanakii) LaBelle, models leadership through her actions on a daily basis. In fact, the motto of her wrestling club is “Facta non Verba”, (Deeds not Words), which is how she has walked through her life thus far. She leads by example as the captain of her rugby team, as a highly respected member of the Alberta North American Indigenous Games team and one of the members of her schools' FNMI club. Danyka uses her knowledge and teachings to support and move forward, at her school, Orange Shirt Day, Red Dress Day, and the Moose Hide Campaign initiatives, creating awareness for teachers and students of the present day ramifications of historical events.

Danyka is aware of the value and importance of education today and recognizes that education comes in many forms. While she has been accepted at the University of Calgary in the Education program, she is hoping that her love of languages will allow her to explore the opportunity to revitalize the Michif and Cree languages among young people today. So, while a university education provides legitimacy in one world Danyka strives for legitimacy from her own community by receiving language communication from elders. Danyka’s goal of becoming a teacher and sharing her passion for sport and education with Indigenous youth, like her older sister and mother is a worthy endeavor. Her hard work and dedication to her studies and athletics was recently rewarded with the University of Calgary rugby and wrestling teams both offering her scholarships. This will make her a dual-sport athlete at the University level.

Through her experiences teaching hoop dance, powwow dance, and Metis jigging, Danya found her calling, her ability to listen, respond and encourage those she is surrounded by. This not only energizes her to provide more support but allows others to seek out their passions. Danyka’s positive outlook and enthusiastic spirit is contagious, and leads her to support and assist peers, family, elders and other community members.

Danyka (Aahwanakii) LaBelle

Past award winners

2022: Jaityn LaBelle
2021: Isabella (Bella) Coderre
2020: Tyra Cross Child
2019: Aboriginal Youth Achievement Award was not presented due to a lack of nominations.
2018: Wacey Little Light
2017: Latasha Calf Robe
2016: Jolene Houle
2015: Macyn Morning Bull
2014: Angela Gladeau
2013: Nikkole Heavy Shield
2012: Alaine Crowchief
2011: Neepin Auger
2010: Chantel Large
2009: Caitlyn Pantherbone
2006: Kristen Acuna
2005: Jessica McMann
2004: Ms. Melinda Bain
2003: Ms. Nicole Akuna
2002: Ms. Autumn Eagle Speaker
2001: Mr. Jason Wuttanee, Ms. Robin Twigg, Ms. Nellie Meguinis
2000: Mr. Darcy Turning Robe
1999: Ms. Amanda Chersinoff
1998: Mr. Christopher Buggins
1997: Mr. Bryce Starlight
1996: Mr. Blue Cloud Michael Eaglespeaker Williams
1995: Mr. Shawn Gary Wade Butt
1994: Ms. Rozalyn Prairie Chicken
1993: Ms. Vada Hoof
1992: Ms. Bobbie Jo Turning Robe​​​​​​​​​​​​

See information about the Chief David Crowhcild Memorial Award