Former Couchiching resident Richard Lyons received the Order of Canada from Governor-General Adrienne Clarkson last week in honour of his cultural contributions to the country.
Lyons developed a deep affinity for Anishinabe customs and rituals in his childhood living on the Couchiching Reserve. As a child, he attended local pow-wows and began learning the sacred traditions associated with dancing and drumming.
In 1969, he formed the Dick Lyons Dance Troupe, devoting himself to preserving the culture of his forefathers.
The group has grown steadily and today, audiences around the world enjoy the performances of native drummers, singers, and dancers resplendent in colourful costumes.
Thanks to his efforts, young Anishinabe men and women are carrying on the traditions of their native heritage with renewed pride.
Lyons also served as a gunner in the artillery division of the army from September, 1943 to July, 1944. He was stationed in Camp Shilo, Man. but was ineligible for active duty because of a physical disability.
He encourages today’s youth to preserve their way of life—to remember the teachings of the elders.
Lyons now lives in Thunder Bay. He could not be reached for comment prior to press time.