Assiniboine Community College has recognized the hard work of community leader and Métis advocate, Leah LaPlante.

She was given an honorary diploma in Community Development at the graduation ceremony in Brandon on Friday.

"Leah has had a notable career and exemplifies the power of change in the community through her role on various boards and committees," said Mark Frison, President at Assiniboine.

"We are thrilled to be celebrating her remarkable achievements in front of graduates making a transition into their career, as her influence and leadership for over 25 years demonstrate the positive impact of community involvement."

Leah was born and raised in Manitoba's Turtle Mountain. At a young age, she desired to represent the Métis culturally and politically. In 1997, as the Chairperson of the Turtle Mountain local, she pursued her passion and was elected to the Southwest Region Manitoba Métis Federation (MMF) board. Leah served as the Vice President of the Southwest Region MMF for over 25 years and has successfully managed the regional office, widely considered the province's most productive and efficient MMF region.

“I was overwhelmed when I received a call from Mark, who informed me that I had been chosen by the Board of Directors to receive an honorary diploma,” said LaPlante.

“I was humbled by the fact that I was nominated by someone whom I have known and admired for quite some time. As a former student of Assiniboine – Journeyman Cook – this award is appreciated.”

In the early 90s, Leah moved to Brandon and continued her Métis representation through her role on various boards and committees. Today, she is an active member of several boards and groups, including Brandon Urban Aboriginal People's Council, Assiniboine Indigenous Advisory Circle, Southwest Daycare Inc., Métis Economic Development Organization, and BU CARES.

“Leah is a transformational leader and remains motivated and engaged in leading the community to greater understanding and respect for all Indigenous people,” said Kris Desjarlais, Director of Indigenous Education at Assiniboine. “She is adored and revered by the people she serves, and I cannot think of someone more deserving of this honour.”

Assiniboine awards honorary diplomas to individuals who demonstrate high standards of excellence in their personal and professional achievements and whose involvement in the community is widely recognized.