An Indigenous cultural leader in Saskatchewan says a historic Golden Globes win this week can be a beacon of hope for Indigenous youth everywhere.

On Sunday night, Lily Gladstone became the first Indigenous woman in the awards show’s history to win the award for best actress in a drama.

She won the award for her portrayal of Molly in the film Killers of the Flower Moon.

Gladstone, whose father is Blackfeet, would begin her acceptance speech speaking in the Blackfeet language and spoke on the historic moment.

“This is for every little rez kid, every little urban kid, every little Native kid who has a dream, who is seeing themselves represented and our stories told by ourselves, in our own words, with tremendous allies and tremendous trust with and from each other,” she said in her acceptance speech.

SICC president says historic win was “emotional” and more than an award

In a conversation with MBC Radio News, Dr. Jessie Sylvestre, President of the Saskatchewan Indigenous Cultural Centre said the win tugged at many Indigenous people’s heart strings.

“It was very emotional… we take great pride in our people and seeing her on stage as the first Indigenous woman to ever receive the Golden Globe… was a beacon of resilience and pride,” said Sylvestre.

The SICC president also commented on the cultural importance of seeing an Indigenous language spoken in earnest at such a big stage.

“That was really something to hear the language first,” she said. “When I heard her speak I know that’s when many of us sat up and really listened and it tugged at our hearts.”

Gladstone’s win was just over 50 years after a historic moment at the 1973 Academy Awards when Sacheen Littlefeather refused the Oscar for Best Actor on behalf of Marlon Brando in protest of the treatment of Indigenous people in the entertainment industry.

Sylvestre believes Gladstone’s victory is an example of Indigenous resilience and she believes it is more than an award.

“I think today when we celebrate her achievement I see more than an award. We see a symbol of hope and possibility for Indigenous youth everywhere. I believe her victory speech is a vivid reminder that our voices matter, our stories are powerful, and our dreams are achievable.”