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Home > News > Posts > David Swanson Receives the Governor General's Award
January 08
David Swanson Receives the Governor General's Award
Congratulations to David Swanson on Receiving the Governor General's Award

David Swanson award picture.PNG

This major accomplishment was featured on CBC Manitoba, the Winnipeg Free Press, the Globe and Mail, and CBC News National website. It was also featured on websites for the Norway House Cree Nation, the Manitoba Museum, and the Canadian Museum of History. 

It is an honour and a privilege to help Mr. Swanson celebrate this event of a lifetime. 

From all of us at Frontier School Division- CONGRATULATIONS!! 

In David Swanson’s Words:

The partnership we created with the Manitoba Museum and Norway House staff, community and elders, is incredible. We visited the museum with the non-displayed archived items. The amount of artifacts that exist from Norway House is overwhelming. It was a great opportunity for our people to see these artifacts so well preserved. This gave our partnership with the museum even more strength as we saw how well our artifacts are being kept. 

Initially, project leaders from the Manitoba Museum came to Norway House to visit the community. Richard Laurin, the project leader from the museum, came to Norway House during York Boat Days. He brought local artifacts and recordings. People were able to come and listen to the voices of our elders, many who have already passed on. The Norway House people heard many of the stories from our late elders, hearing people tell their stories that we did not know existed. It meant a lot for the museum to bring these items to us, to hear our own stories, to bring these items back to life for our people.

 Richard also recorded audio sounds from nature and York Boat Days to use as a background for the stories of the elders. We used local artisans to replicate the artifacts to be included into teaching kits for the school. We had meetings, met their staff, and they explained what the project was. Great excitement was created from that. 

Pauline and the late Byron Apetagon worked with Richard in the translations of the Cree stories into English. They also wrote out the Cree versions using Roman Arthography. In March 2017, Richard came back to Norway House to deliver the teaching kits, worked with teachers, and went into the classrooms to work with students. 

My role in this initiative was to help with translations. Some stories were written rather than recorded, so I told the stories in Cree while they were being recorded. My role was also coordinating the museum visits within the community, facilitating logistical details in Norway House, gathering teachers, elders and other community members, and ensuring the effective use of the created teaching kits. 

The experience in going to Ottawa was incredible. I was able to meet other award recipients and learn about their own projects. It was amazing to be at the House of Commons, to be acknowledged by all of the Members of Parliament, and to receive a standing ovation from the MPs. We visited the Museum of Canadian History and attended a gala with all of the participants. Robert Falcon-Oulette, MP from Winnipeg, came and personally acknowledged and thanked us at the gala. I didn’t realize that I had to have a speech ready and sent to them ahead of time, so I sent it in the Friday before we left. A quarter of my speech was in Cree! After I presented my speech, a lot of people said that it was incredible for me to speak my own language during my speech. Even the Governor General of Canada commented on the use of my language in my speech! 

Thank you to the Manitoba Museum, it was incredible working with them! I would like to thank the people of Norway House who were involved in this, including staff from both schools and community elders. Thank you to Rosa Scribe from Norway House, who did the beadwork and watch pouches. I would especially like to thank Pauline and the late Byron once again for their contributions and expertise in this project. 

CA Museums 2017 press release.pdfCA Museums 2017 press release.pdf

The Governor General History Awards News Print.pdfThe Governor General History Awards News Print.pdf