A Walk Down Memory Lane ~ July Edition

Jacqueline Davis ~ Founder of The First Nations Breast Cancer Society

In 1996 our first drummer was Jacqueline Davis, a Cree woman from the Peguis First Nation in Manitoba with breast cancer.  We loved having Jackie on the boat because she was very vivacious and outgoing and was proud to represent First Nations cancer survivors. Her position as drummer was very important as it was part of her heritage that she shared with us.

The First Nations Breast Cancer Society was founded by Jacqueline Davis.  A volunteer non-profit organization that is registered in the Province of British Columbia since July 04, 1995. It’s mandate is to offer breast cancer education and support to First Nations women. Jacqueline Davis has spearheaded and Produced, Echoes of The Sisters: First Nations Women: Breast Cancer video 1996. Echoes of The Sisters video won the most Public Service Award at the American Indian Film Festival-San Francisco, California, USA in 1996. Abreast In A Boat Dragon Boat Team which Jacqueline Davis was the Drummer won the David Lam trophy for good sportsmanship in Vancouver, B.C. in 1996.  Jacqueline Davis spearheaded and produced the First Nations: Breast Self Examination video in 1998. In May 1999, Jacqueline Davis was recognized with the Flare Volunteer Award, Flare Magazine Canada, Canada’s Leading Fashion Magazine, for her volunteer work. In 2000 Jacqueline Davis was nominated as a National Native Role Model representing the Province of Manitoba. She and other role models were guests at Rideau Hall in Ottawa were they were honored with a dinner hosted by Her Excellency the Governor General of Canada, Adrienne Clarkson. A term they all had to serve for two years.

In 2003 Jacqueline Davis was a guest on Aboriginal Peoples Television Network’s (APTN) Live Show Contact; First Nations Breast Cancer, Questions You Have in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Jacqueline Davis was nominated for a National Aboriginal Achievement Award in 2003 and 2004.  Jacqueline Davis was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal (MSM) in recognition for her involvement in founding the First Nations Breast Cancer Society and for her breast cancer work.

Through a contact of Jacqueline’s, the inmates at Mountain Institution in Agassiz were encouraged to make a drum for the Abreast In A Boat dragon boat team for us to use during the Festival in our first races in 1997.  It was donated with great pride by the men who made it, to Jackie, Jane Frost and Brenda Hochachka, who was the team captain. The three of us went to a ceremony in the Institution which involved sweet grass smudging, drumming and prayers.  It was a very moving ceremony during which the drum was blessed as it was passed on to Abreast In A Boat as a gift.