Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Those boys can jig!

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If you're a fan of TV talent shows, then Sagkeeng's Finest have likely already danced their way into your heart.

Vince O'Laney and Brandon and Dallas Courchene -- the fast-stepping square dancers from Sagkeeng First Nation -- took top honours on Canada's Got Talent this week. I didn't tune in until the finals, but when I did, I was impressed. Everything family and friends told me about the Ojibwa teens was true: They are amazing dancers, light on their feet, with big, bright smiles. I think everyone and their cousin voted for the trio. I know I did -- online, on Twitter, Facebook and by phone.

It just goes to show the power of voting. Now imagine if we voted like that in political elections. We'd have those politicians dancing around to get our vote, that's for sure.

I voted and had my fingers crossed for Sagkeeng's Finest to win because I knew it would be such a magical win -- not just for them, but for all of us.

And yes, like many people who were glued to their TV sets, I felt a sense of pride and a lump in my throat when I saw those kids perform. Man, those boys can jig!

I might have got a little teary because I was so proud of those teens. You would think I was a stage mom the way I was beaming at the TV screen.

In my eyes, Sagkeeng's Finest had already won just by getting picked to be on the talent show. Think of them as goodwill ambassadors for aboriginal people. We can never have too many of those out there.

Aboriginal people all get a sense of pride when we see one of our own do good things in the world. It doesn't matter if that person comes from our community or not, we are proud of them just the same.

Watching those kids win big on TV was a victory for everyone, no matter what their background. It's nice to see aboriginal people hit the mainstream in a positive way.

But having other Canadians get a taste of the talented teens -- and like them -- is another reason to cheer. It's a good sign that the old "us and them" barrier is breaking down a little bit more.

Sagkeeng's Finest showed all Canadians that aboriginal people are just as talented as everyone else.

As much as we still have problems and obstacles to overcome in so many of our communities, we also have good things to celebrate too.

Sagkeeng's Finest have lived up to their name. I can't wait to hear about the good things these three young men will do in the future, now that they know they can do anything they put their minds to.

It's time to discover who "the finest" are in other aboriginal communities and let them shine too.

And now that the show's over, there's still an important point to remember.

There's a wonderful message that everyone can learn from Sagkeeng's Finest's victory. They have proven no matter how old you are or where you come from, you can achieve great things in your life.

Just find out what you love to do and do it.

Your gift might not be square dancing, but it might be singing, painting, sports or even medical school.

Work hard at what you love to do, and eventually you will get very good at it. It's going to be hard sometimes, but nothing good comes easy.

Yes, you too could be the "finest" in what you do. Now that's a maxim everyone can believe in.

 

Colleen Simard is a Winnipeg writer.

colleen.simard@gmail.com

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 19, 2012 J1

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