N.B.: The detail displayed about each honorary degree recipient varies, as
the database was compiled from a variety of sources. However, more information may
be available at the University Archives.
Convocation date: April 3, 1997
Special Convocation: 90th Anniversary Convocation
Discipline / contribution: Indigenous culture ; linguistics - Indigenous
Citation / biographical information:
Eminent Chancellor, on behalf of the University Senate, I present to you Professor Freda Ahenakew of the Atahkakohp First Nation. Professor Ahenakew received her early education in the Cree culture and language at Sandy Lake, her Bachelor's degree from the University of Saskatchewan and her Master's degree in linguistics from the University of Manitoba. In thirteen years she has gained an international scholarly reputation in Cree philology and in her establishment of a written form for Cree traditional literature. Her published thesis, Cree Language Structures, has been reprinted many times and is unique as a guide to the teaching of an aboriginal language through the use of literary texts. Among her numerous books and technical papers are extensive collections of traditional and autobiographical Cree narratives: The Stories of the House People, Student Stories, Our Grandmothers' Lives As Told in Their Own Words, The La Ronge Lectures of Sarah Whitecalf and the forthcoming Collected Stories of William Greyeyes. These preserve the authentic narrative structures of the Cree language and richly document the lives of their authors: women and men who formed the original society of this region. In addition to her astonishing record of publication, Professor Ahenakew has taught Cree and developed university programs in the language here and in the Department of Native Studies at the University of Manitoba. She has been a colleague and mentor to both academics and non-academics who are interested in the language, culture and history of the Cree people. The scope other work includes primary, secondary, and medical education as well: she has served as Director of the Saskatchewan Indian Languages Institute, she has published several stories for children in Cree and English editions, a medical lexicon, and curricular materials for the elementary and secondary schools. Freda Ahenakew has united the values and lifework of a Cree Elder and a university scholar and has devoted herself in an exemplary manner to building up the intellectual and moral life of our country.Degree received: Doctor of Laws
Eminent Chancellor, I present to you Freda Ahenakew and ask that you will confer on her the degree of Doctor of Laws honoris causa.
Degree presented by: Mary Marino
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