The Lead by Example Powwow to honour Kristian Ayoungman is coming up this weekend, four years after he was tragically murdered.
From a young age, Kristian's mother Melodie Ayoungman knew he was a special person. Not only was he incredibly kind and supportive of those around him, he also worked hard and excelled in anything he set his mind to. Whether it was playing hockey with the Wheatland Kings, thriving as a champion powwow dancer in higher age levels because he dominated his age level, or other sports like golf and baseball, Kristian made himself known wherever he went.
"He was just one of the First Nations' finest, we knew he was going to become something so great, but who knew he would become something so great with his legacy this way? Leading by example and leaving the rest of us to continue his legacy with the Town of Strathmore, for all communities, and for everyone to learn from."
The legacy Kristian leaves behind is one of outstanding character and truly leading by example, hence the name of the powwow.
"The way he lived his life, he sure led by example. He was kind to everyone, humble, and he tried hard. He was supportive to other people in helping them to succeed."
Kristian's outstanding character and personality was noticed by all who knew him, especially his sisters. Melodie said Kristian always looked out for his sisters and made sure they stayed on the right track, and his sisters knew to take him seriously when he spoke to them because he always had their best interests in mind.
"Just by his look, they knew 'I better listen to brother, brother is looking out for us.' He just had that look, that honesty, the way he conducted and carried himself with anyone, with everyone, everywhere."
The pain of losing your son is something that never goes away, but Melodie has remained strong and positive during this incredibly difficult time. She hopes this powwow brings Strathmore and Siksika closer together to promote learning about each other's cultures and history.
"My biggest dream is that everyone can learn about our boy's tragic loss and what happened to alleviate this from ever happening again so that people will learn about First Nations and that we can all move forward in a good way, for all our future generations."
She added Strathmore has been great in taking positive action to further the town's relationship with Siksika, and continuing to learn about First Nations' history is a key aspect of building upon this relationship.
"Strathmore gets it. They're doing these things to change... everyone's scared of the word racism, but to change the face of racism, to end racism, and racism isn't just something in one town or one place, it's everywhere. That's just something we need to realize, acknowledge history and the untold history of First Nations. If more people understood and learned about the history of First Nations, then this perhaps may not have happened to our son."
The Lead by Example Powwow will take place on March 18 and 19 at the Strathmore Motor Products Sports Centre. For additional details visit leadbyexamplepowwow.ca
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