The 36th annual Jeanne Clarke Local History Awards were announced during a virtual ceremony on Sunday evening.
The Prince George Native Friendship Centre was honoured with the Jeanne Clarke Local History Award for Service for their Skeh Baiyoh Childcare Centre. The Skeh Baiyoh Childcare Centre incorporates Indigenous teaching practices into early childhood education, blending together Aboriginal Head Start philosophy and early childhood education best practices with critical aspects of Carrier culture. Children learn about the Lheidli T'enneh by gaining exposure to language, social gatherings, traditions, and the wisdom of Elders. Skeh Baiyoh also partners with outside organizations to expand awareness of Lheidli T’enneh history and culture, which continues to thrive even after centuries of colonization.
The Prince George Public Library Board also awarded two regional awards for publications this year.
Geoff Mynett accepted a Publication Award for Service on the Skeena: Horace Wrinch, Frontier Physician. Service on the Skeena is the previously untold biography of medical doctor, administrator, missionary, farmer and progressive politician Horace Wrinch. Wrinch, who departed England alone at age 14, arrived in Hazelton twenty years later, where he built the first hospital in the northern interior. Having drawn extensively on research from archives, newspapers, family documents and photographs, Mynett’s work captures the reader’s admiration and interest from cover to cover.
Briony Penn accepted a Publication Award for Stories from the Magic Canoe of Wa’xaid by Cecil Paul as told to Briony Penn. Stories from the Magic Canoe reflects on the restoration of land and culture. Told in Wa’xaid’s (also known as Cecil Paul) singular, vernacular voice, the book spans a lifetime of experience, suffering and survival. A Xenaksiala Elder, Wa’xaid passed away in December 2020, shortly after his 90th birthday. The prominent Indigenous leader was known for his tireless work to protect the Kitlope, described as the largest intact temperate rainforest watershed in the world.
The Jeanne Clarke Local History Award was established by the Library Board in 1985, in memory of former library board chair Jeanne Clarke. Jeanne Clarke was a founding member of the Prince George Public Library's Local History Committee, and played a key role in establishing the library’s local history collection.