The 9th biennial Gallery of Honour ceremony celebrated two young dancers who have made a significant contribution to Quesnel and area through the arts.
Larissa Munch and Elledae Armstrong were honoured at the Quesnel Arts and Recreation Centre on Wednesday, April 13.
“We’re very honoured to have two outstanding youth in our Gallery of Honour this year,” said Cathy Heinzelman with the Quesnel and District Community Arts Council (QDCAC).
Munch was nominated by Nazko First Nation band administrator Tanya Hjorth who has known her since birth.
She called Munch a strong Indigenous woman and community leader.
“For myself, I really strongly believe in our youth and to be able to instill power and pride in them, and I know that her mom has done a great job raising her to be proud of her culture and who she is,” Hjorth said.
Munch, 19, has danced at various powwows representing Indigenous youth and was crowned several years ago the Xats’ull Save the Salmon Princess, Quesnel Tillicum Society Senior Youth Princess and Spirit of the Peace Senior Princess.
She has also performed at many local events celebrating National Indigenous Peoples Day and more.
Munch said it was an honour to receive the award she had heard about from previous recipients like Destinee Boyd.
“It’s so amazing to be a leader for the youth,” she added.
“There’s a lot of things going on, so they need leaders, and they need to connect to our culture, so I love being there to dance at powwows and make a change in the world.”
Armstrong, 18, was not able to attend the presentation as she was in the midst of writing a final exam for UBC.
The health sciences student has danced in many genres, including jazz, ballet, stage, modern, tap, contemporary and musical theatre, winning numerous awards.
Her aunt and nominator, Aida Keram, shared a letter on her behalf.
“Since I was very young, I’ve always loved to dance and perform. So to be celebrated simply for doing what I love is truly a privilege,” Keram read.
“The opportunities I have had as a performer are first foremost due to the fact that I have had a family and a community supporting me every step of the way.”
Pictures of Armstrong and Munch will be installed at the Quesnel Arts and Recreation Centre in the coming days.
Both received a plaque, flowers, and praise from Mayor Bob Simpson, Cariboo North MLA Coralee Oakes and Cariboo-Prince George MP Todd Doherty.
“No doubt these results are in part due to strong work ethic, creativity and passion—qualities that you have sustained over your career in dance and brought you this latest milestone,” Doherty wrote in a congratulations letter.
“Additionally what is, even more, impressing, in my opinion, is that you’ve chosen to share these talents to mentoring youth in the community.”
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