Ottawa, May 28, 2013 – Richard Wagamese and Ann Dale and have been awarded this year’s Canada Council Molson Prizes. Ojibway author and journalist Richard Wagamese is recipient of the Molson Prize in the arts. Mr. Wagamese is known for his profound, compelling stories about Aboriginal life. Ann Dale, winner of the Molson Prize in the social sciences and humanities, is recognized for her work in advancing sustainable communities across Canada.
Two Canada Council Molson Prizes, worth $50,000 each, are awarded every year to distinguished Canadians, one in the arts and the other in the social sciences and humanities. Established in 1964, the prize is funded from the income of a $1 million endowment given to the Canada Council by the Molson Family Foundation and recognizes the recipients’ outstanding lifetime achievements and ongoing contributions to the cultural and intellectual life of Canada. The Canada Council administers the awards in co-operation with the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) and both winners were selected by a multi-sectorial peer assessment committee.
“This year’s Canada Council Molson Prize winners offer us new narratives on culture, environment and sense of community,” said Robert Sirman, Canada Council Director and CEO. “They illustrate how Canadian artists and social scientists expand our capacity to live fuller and more sustainable lives.”
“SSHRC is delighted to partner with the Canada Council for the Arts in presenting the prestigious Molson Prize to two exceptional Canadians for their respective contributions to research excellence and cultural heritage in Canada,” said Dr. Chad Gaffield, president of SSHRC. “The work of Ann Dale and Richard Wagamese demonstrates the important role of the social sciences and humanities in building a better future for Canada and the world.”
Richard Wagamese is the author of 13 books in the genres of fiction, memoir and poetry. He is Ojibway from the Wabseemoong First Nation in Northwestern Ontario and the 2012 recipient of the National Aboriginal Achievement Award in Media & Communications. He has been a professional writer for 34 years as an award-winning journalist, radio/television broadcaster, and author. He is the first Native Canadian to win a National Newspaper Award for column writing among other honours such as the George Ryga Award for Social Awareness in Literature, the Canadian Author’s Association Award for Fiction. The Alberta Writers Guild Best Novel Award and an Honorary Doctor of Letters Degree from Thompson Rivers University. He is an educator and renowned public speaker and lives in the mountains outside of Kamloops, BC with his wife Debra Powell and Molly the Story Dog. His new novel Medicine Walk arrives in 2014 from McClelland & Stewart.
Professor Ann Dale, Canada Research Chair in Sustainable Community Development, Royal Roads University (Victoria), is nationally and internationally recognized for her research in the field of community sustainability. As a former executive in the federal government and a founder of the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy in 1988, her research on governance, innovation and community vitality is designed to provide useful knowledge to Canadian decision-makers. Dr. Dale is deeply committed to online conversations on critical public policy issues and novel research dissemination tools, such as her YouTube channel, HEADTalks. An active researcher, Dale leads MC3, a research program studying climate change adaptation and mitigation best practices and innovations in communities throughout British Columbia. Dr. Dale is a member of the National Advisory Committee on Energy Efficiency, and was the founding research associate in residence for the Council of Canadian Academies, 2010-2011. She is also a board member of the World Fisheries Trust and a fellow of the World Academy of Art and Sciences and chairs the Canadian Consortium for Sustainable Development Research. Originally from Ottawa, she splits her time between Victoria and Ottawa.
In awarding the Molson Prize to Richard Wagamese, the selection committee said: “Through the writing of potent fiction and non-fiction, Richard Wagamese takes us on a difficult but necessary journey. Giving voice to the silenced through honest, compassionate story-telling, his work explores the experience of loss and recovery of culture and identity. Mr. Wagamese is a mentor, teacher and leader, and his exceptional literary output continues to open pathways of communication between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canadians.”
In awarding the Molson Prize to Ann Dale, the selection committee described her as “one of Canada’s foremost academics in sustainable community development, an activist within the environmental movement, and an innovator in environmental education and civic engagement.”
Members of this year’s Molson Prize committee were: Cynthia J. Alexander (Wolfville, NS), Professor, Dept of Politics, Acadia University; Cheryl Foggo (Calgary), author and playwright; John Oswald (Toronto), composer, saxophonist, media artist, dancer; Jacques Tardif (Montreal) Professor, Department of Pedagogy, Faculty of Education, University of Sherbrooke; and Diana Thorneycroft (Winnipeg), visual artist.
In addition to its principal role of promoting and fostering the arts, the Canada Council for the Arts administers and awards many prizes and fellowships in the arts, humanities, social sciences, natural and health sciences, engineering, and arts management. These prizes and fellowships recognize the achievements of outstanding Canadian artists, scholars, and administrators. The Canada Council is committed to raising public awareness and celebrating these exceptional people and organizations on both a national and an international level.
The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) is the federal agency that promotes and supports university-based research and training in the humanities and social sciences. Through its three funding programs – Talent, Insight and Connection – SSHRC enables the highest levels of research excellence in Canada and facilitates knowledge-sharing and collaboration across research disciplines, universities and all sectors of society.