Saskatchewan woman wins people’s choice award in national photography exhibition

Melanie Gray says her award-winning photo of young girls powwow dancing shows the resilience of Indigenous peoples. Melanie Gray / Supplied

A woman from Humboldt, Sask. has taken an award-winning photograph.

Melanie Gray’s picture of young girls powwow dancing won the people’s choice award in a national exhibition for the Canadian Museum for Human Rights (CMHR).

“One of my favorite things about photography is the ability to tell a story without uttering a single word,” said Gray, who is an amateur photographer.

She said the photo – titled the Next Generation – shows the resilience of Indigenous

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“We weren’t allowed to do this before. Potlatch was banned, powwow was banned, our culture and language was taken,” Gray said.

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“So this dance is both a symbol of hope and a recognition of what has occurred.”

Her photo was picked from among 70 images presented by the CMHR in its Points of View exhibition that was part of the Canada 150 celebrations.

Gray said Canada 150 was an opportunity to create awareness.

“It’s important to acknowledge that there are people who have been here a lot longer than 150 years,” Gray said,

“Reconciliation is crucial as it’s about acknowledgment, relationship building and working together to move forward with respect and with that comes healing. We all benefit from that.”

Gray said part of her $2,000 award will be donated to the Saskatoon Friendship Inn.

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