Thousands raised for chief in Alberta whose home was destroyed by fire

Enoch Cree Nation’s River Cree Resort and Casino hosted a fundraiser talent show on Feb. 26 to raise money for Sturgeon Lake Cree Nation Chief Clyde Goodswimmer and his family.

In November, their home was destroyed by fire.

Headlining the event was country and gospel star Larry Gatlin.

Organizer Irene Morin says that a fundraiser was a natural thing to do for Goodswimmer, as he has been involved in the Native Provincial Hockey Tournament for decades.

“Clyde Goodswimmer has been a friend of everybody in this province. …So we figured he did so much for our children, our youth. It’s time to give back to this guy,” she says.

The event featured a singing competition for men and women. There was no shortage of talent on display.

Comedian Don Burnstick was the master of ceremonies.

Music star Larry Gatlin.

Gatlin attended a sweat lodge and was given his own Cree name – Kanikamohat.

“It means one who sings for the people. “ Gatlin tells APTN News.

“So that’s what I’m going to do tonight. I had a sweat, a wonderful ceremony with these dear people,” he says.

Goodswimmer says he was taken aback from the support from his community and from this fund raiser.

“I’m really humbled by all of this. It’s just like it’s… overwhelming,” Goodswimmer says. “Not only to have your family and friends from Sturgeon, but to have some people all over the province reach out and do what they’ve been doing for me is just phenomenal.”

The evening ended with Gatlin on stage with contestants and singing his big hit All the Gold in California, and the gospel song Will the Circle Be Unbroken with the crowd singing along.

With ticket sales, donations and silent auctions, the event was a big success, raising several thousand dollars for the Goodswimmer family.

Video Journalist / Edmonton

Chris Stewart has been in the media for 20 years. He has worked at CBC, Global and CTV as a news camera operator and editor. Chris joined APTN in 2012 in the Saskatoon Bureau and moved to APTN Edmonton bureau in 2015 as a Videojournalist.