Ma-Nee Chacaby, a Two-Spirit Ojibwa-Cree elder and storyteller, received the Community Hero Award on Monday, Dec. 6 at the City of Thunder Bay's annual Mayor's Community Safety Awards.
Ma-Nee generously shares her knowledge and skills with the Thunder Bay community, including with the Lakehead University Elders Council.
Her visibility as an out and proud Two-Spirit person — in the film Fire Song, in text with her own story A Two- Spirit Journey: The Autobiography of a Lesbian Ojibwa-Cree Elder, and through digital story-telling — helps increase public awareness for 2SLGBTIQ+ experiences, and broadens the conversation around crucial Indigenous history like the impacts of residential and day schools.
For decades, Ma-Nee’s community work and volunteering has been extensive.
She spends time counselling youth who find themselves at risk of poor outcomes, individuals struggling with addictions and homelessness, and people living with HIV.
Ma-Nee encourages and supports language revitalization, ensures that cultural teachings survive to reach future generations, and improves a sense of community belonging and safety through her mentorship of youth. In addition to serving on many committees, including the City of Thunder Bay Elders Advisory Council, Ma-Nee mentors a number of grassroots groups and supports their vital community safety and well-being efforts.
Watch a video about Ma-Nee and other recipients here.