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|Thursday, 18 December, 2014|
Comedians from left, Vaughn Eaglebear, Teresa Choyguha and Chad Charlie.
By ALEXANDRIA ALVAREZ
FORT HALL — On December 12, employees of the Shoshone-Bannock gathered in Shoshone-Bannock Hotel and Event Center for an evening of grandeur and comedy at the Annual Employee Recognition Dinner.
Each year in December, departments and directors are given a chance to recognize employees as well as directors for their service and hard work. Employees were also eligible to be recognized as Volunteer of the Year, and Hero of the Year.
Roanna Stump began the evening’s events by opening with a prayer before people began lining up for dinner.
As tribal members enjoyed their meal, Executive Director Angelo Gonzalez gave a few opening remarks before beginning the departmental awards; Interim Director of the Early Childhood Program Matt Wilson was first to announce his departmental awards. Wilson began by saying he felt it was important to acknowledge each one of the staff, notably Marilyn Dawes for her dedication to education.
Robert Moss from Tribal Corrections recognized two members of his staff for their contributions; Julie Fagnant who serves as a registered nurse for their department was given an award of recognition, followed by Erica Denny for her service in the courts.
Next was the Fort Hall Business Council who selected the following:
Interim Director of the 477 Program Lori Pahvitse was recognized as Supervisor of the year. Donna Honena, and Andrea Dunn were given honorable mention. Family and Counseling’s Matt Wadsworth was awarded Employee of the Year and given airline miles to use of his choosing. Loni Johnson and Darren Willoughby were given honorable mention. Nadine Auck was named Volunteer of the Year for her contributions in education, while Carlino Broncho, and Julie Dustin were given honorable mention.
And finally the last award of the evening went to the Hero of the Year — Bob Johnson. Johnson who works at the Recreation Department also frequently serves as emcee for local events, and has helped with numerous community.
After the awards, three native comedians served as the evening’s entertainment — originally the native comedian group the 1491s was scheduled to perform, but didn’t so Teresa Choyguha, Chad Charlie, and Vaughn Eaglebear were asked to step in on their behalf.
“I really enjoyed performing here in Fort Hall. The crowd was a lot of fun to interact with. I’ve traveled doing different performances, and sometimes you can have a tough crowd. But I can tell… this community is still really Indian, and they get Indian humor,” Choyguha laughed.
Teresa is a member of the Tohono O’odam from Arizona, and works in marketing and public relations for her Tribe.
“I felt really welcomed by the people, it’s a nice area here, and the hotel is really nice. I enjoyed my time here,” said Charlie. The youngest of the comedians, Charlie recently participated in a all Native American comedy night during Native American Heritage Month and the 11th annual Red Nation Film Festival at the Laugh Factory in Los Angeles California. He is originally from Canada and comes from the Heiltsuk Indians of coast, and of Vancouver Island.
Vaughn Eaglebear an Omak tribal member from Washington also participated in the comedy slam alongside Charlie and is known for creating the song “John Wayne’s Teeth” in the movie Smoke Signals. Eaglebear has traveled extensively throughout Indian Country.
“I’m glad to be out here, I hope everyone had a good time. I had fun joking around and interacting with the audience members. Like Teresa said, sometimes you can have a tough crowd, and either your too Indian, or not Indian enough. But tonight’s show was great, and I think everyone had a good time. We all enjoyed our time,” concluded Eaglebear.
At the end of the performances, Charlie and Choyguha helped draw names for the Christmas prizes. After the drawing, a dance concluded the night.