On March 6, 2020 community member Eugene Ross was awarded the Circle of Life Award for his work in Spirituality and Culture, from Full Circle for Indigenous Education.
“When Eugene was 10, he went to live with his 82-year old Great Grandmother, in a log house with no running water or electricity in Sioux Valley Dakota Nation. With his Grandfather, he spent time learning Language and Culture, and with his Grandmother, Francis Mazawasicuna, he learned the art of moccasin making.
Eugene became fascinated of who he was and where he had come from. Over summer he spent time with elders learning about the Dakota culture, language and teachings dating back hundreds of years.
This knowledge formed the base of his magnificent Dakota display. The largest Dakota collection in Manitoba that represent the lifestyle and historic aspects of Dakota Life.
Eugene is a great resource for Dakota Language and teachings. He understands the hardships of Indigenous people and lives a life following what the old people used to say, know your history and know your culture. He passes the gifts of this knowledge from the old ones, now to the young people.
These Days Eugene teaches traditional skill-building in the schools, is an elder for Assiniboine Community College and is on the board as an Elder for the Southern Chiefs Organization.
Eugene’s Beadwork and beaded moccasins are treasured. Expert example of Dakota Style of Art. He is considered a master of his work. Everyone who possesses a pair of moccasins that Eugene has made is lucky indeed. We thank Eugene for how he uses his life for the gifts he carries and shares with the people.”