Connie Walker—Congratulations on Pulitzer Prize and Peabody Award

By: The Hon. Marty Klyne

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Hon. Marty Klyne: Honourable senators, today I rise to recognize Connie Walker, a Saskatchewan-born Cree journalist who was recently awarded a Pulitzer Prize for her podcast series “Stolen: Surviving St. Michael’s.” She also received a Peabody Award for this work, which has been described as an example of “. . . revelatory reporting and illuminating storytelling . . . .”

Walker grew up on Okanese First Nation, located about 118 kilometres northeast of Regina. This project, which began as a personal search for answers about Walker’s father’s experience at St. Michael’s residential school, turned into an investigation that uncovered the systemic abuse of hundreds of Indigenous children who were forced to attend St. Michael’s, including other members of Walker’s extended family.

Connie Walker’s podcast, with its meticulous research, powerful storytelling and deep-seated compassion, has given us another channel to bring to light the painful history of residential schools in Canada. Through her exceptional journalistic skills, Ms. Walker illuminated a dark chapter that was long shrouded in silence and denial. With each episode, she took listeners on a journey of discovery, allowing survivors to share their stories and bringing their experiences to the forefront of public awareness.

In celebrating Connie Walker’s achievement, we must acknowledge the courage and resilience of the survivors who shared their painful experiences. By trusting in Ms. Walker’s commitment to truth and justice, they have allowed their voices to be heard, often reliving traumatic memories in the hope of fostering understanding and creating a better future for generations to come. This award not only recognizes Connie Walker’s exceptional storytelling but also honours the bravery and resilience of those who have come forward to share their stories.

The inclusion of Indigenous perspectives in the media benefits all of us. By embracing these narratives, we open ourselves up to different ways of knowing, being and relating to one another. Indigenous stories have the power to inspire, educate and provoke meaningful conversations that transcend cultural boundaries. To achieve this, we need new, fresh and accessible ways to amplify Indigenous voices such as Ms. Walker’s. We must support and encourage Indigenous filmmakers, writers, journalists and content creators to share their stories. By investing in diverse perspectives, we can cultivate a media landscape that is reflective of our diverse society. May Connie Walker’s achievement continue to inspire us all to listen, learn and take action.

Thank you and hiy kitatamîhin.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.

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