Ottawa, November 13, 2017 – For its development of an educational tool kit called Spirit Lines—an innovative initiative merging Indigenous heritage and museum expertise—, the Manitoba Museum is receiving the Governor General’s History Award for Excellence in Museums: the History Alive! Award, which will be presented in Rideau Hall on November 22, 2017 by Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette, Governor General of Canada. This award recognizes institutions that demonstrate excellence in the presentation, preservation, and interpretation of Canadian history.
The educational tool kits, used in schools in the Garden Hill and Norway House First Nations in Manitoba, provide access to an impressive collection of tangible and intangible assets preserved by the museum. Through use of the kits, this heritage is being re-introduced to Indigenous communities through an inclusive process of community involvement.
The kits contain a wide array of materials, ranging from audio recordings and replica artifacts created by local artisans to instructions for making such traditional items as snowshoes and birch bark baskets. In addition, five publications—including a Cree dictionary and transcriptions of oral histories with side-by-side translations in English and Cree orthographic writing—allow for the advancement of Cree language teaching. A unique feature of the Spirit Lines project is the inclusion of a syllabic keyboard, enabling communication across networks in the Swampy Cree and Oji-Cree dialects.
“The Manitoba Museum is honoured to be the recipient of the Governor General’s Award in History,” says Claudette Leclerc, Executive Director and CEO of the Manitoba Museum. “This award confirms the importance the museum places on working collaboratively with Indigenous communities. We are proud to use our collections and expertise to highlight the oral traditions, artifacts, and languages of Norway House and Garden Hill First Nations. A special thank you to David Swanson of Frontier School Division, David Flett, formerly of the Garden Hill Education Authority, and David Williamson of University College of the North, our partners in the project, and to all of the teachers and community members who took part in bringing the stories of Jackson Beardy back to life for the students of today.”
“The Manitoba Museum’s Spirit Lines project is an inspiring work that captures the very essence of Reconciliation. By working with Indigenous communities, the Manitoba Museum has been able to create educational tool kits that re-introduce into schools cultural heritage that may have otherwise been lost,” states John G. McAvity, Executive Director & CEO of the Canadian Museums Association.
Jacinta Whyte, General Manager and Chief Agent for Canada, expresses how proud and honoured Ecclesiastical Insurance Ltd. is to support this award: “We congratulate all the finalists, and in particular, this year’s recipient, and salute their innovation and commitment to the interpretation, presentation, and preservation of national, regional, and local history.”
Two additional projects are acknowledged as finalists and will attend the award ceremony in Ottawa: The Rooms Corporation for Beaumont-Hamel and the Trail of the Caribou (St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador) and Fort Edmonton Park for The Junior Indigenous Peoples Interpretive Program (Edmonton, Alberta). This award is presented by the Canadian Museums Association, with the support of Ecclesiastical Insurance Ltd.
For more information on this year’s award recipients, please visit CanadasHistory.ca/Awards
About the Governor General’s History Awards
The Governor General’s History Awards were established in 1996 to recognize excellence in teaching Canadian history. In partnership with Canada’s leading national history organizations—including the Canadian Historical Association, the Canadian Museums Association, Historica Canada, and Experiences Canada—, Canada’s History has worked to expand the awards to recognize the many different ways history is taught, communicated, and celebrated by Canadians. The Governor General’s History Awards now provide an annual opportunity to bring together students, teachers, historians, museums, community organizations, writers, and media producers to celebrate Canadian history and to learn from one another.
About Canada’s History
Canada’s History is a national charitable organization whose mission is to promote greater popular interest in Canadian history, principally through its publishing, education, and recognition programs. In addition to administering the Governor General’s History Awards and publishing Canada’s History magazine (formerly The Beaver) and Kayak: Canada’s History Magazine for Kids, Canada’s History produces a number of educational and online programs to further encourage the exploration and understanding of our shared culture and history.
About the Canadian Museums Association
The Canadian Museums Association is the national organization dedicated to the advancement of the Canadian museum sector. The CMA works for the recognition, growth, and stability of the sector. The 2,600 museums and related institutions in Canada preserve our collective memory, shape our national identity, and foster tolerance and understanding. For more information, see www.museums.ca.