Photos by Brad Crowfoot
On Sept. 21 at Maskwacis, Alta., the 2019 Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Distinguished Artist Awards were held. It’s the first year that the awards have been co-planned and hosted on a First Nation.
Lt. Gov. Lois E. Mitchell presented awards to three distinguished artists during the celebration at Samson Cree Nation’s Jonas Applegarth Theatre, Nipisihikopahk Secondary School in Maskwacis, including poet and writer Marilyn Dumont of Edmonton.
She was born in Olds, Alta. and is of Métis ancestry, descended from the family of Gabriel Dumont.
Her first collection of poetry, A Really Good Brown Girl (1996), won the 1997 Gerald Lampert Memorial Award from the League of Canadian Poets.
Other important publications include: green girl dreams Mountains (2001); that tongued belonging (2007), winner of the McNally Robinson Aboriginal Book of the Year; and The Pemmican Eaters (2015), which won the 2016 Writers’ Guild of Alberta’s Stephan G. Stephansson Award.
Dumont spoke to Jeremy Harpe of Windspeaker Radio about the award.
“It’s pretty huge. Having grown up in Alberta, I mean, I sort of feel like as a Metis person I’ve kind of written myself back into existence, because there’s not much written about the Metis in Alberta.”
“I’m just glad that… it’s educating people.”
Another recipient was Walter Jule of Edmonton. He is one of Canada’s most important printmakers and teacher of printmaking. He is recognized for developing and growing Canada’s first printmaking studio master’s program at the University of Alberta and has been described as “the central figure in the Edmonton school of printmaking.”
Katie Ohe (Calgary) is the third artist honoured. She is considered one of Alberta’s pioneers of abstract art. She has spent six decades in sculpture using a range of materials including steel, concrete, epoxy and chrome.
The artists received handcrafted medals, $30,000 awards and two-week residencies at the Banff Centre’s Leighton Artists’ Studios.