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Library announces history award winners

Winners of the 2024 Jeanne Clarke Local History Awards were announced Sunday. The winners are Clarence Boudreau, 93 and Katherine Palmer Gordon.
Clarence Boudreau, 93, received the Jeanne Clarke Service Award 2024 on Sunday for preserving and promoting local history.

Winners of the 2024 Jeanne Clarke Local History Awards were announced at a gathering Sunday at the main branch of the Prince George Public Library that saw more than 100 people in attendance.

The Service Award was bestowed to Clarence Boudreau, 93, for promoting and preserving local history, and the Publication Award went to Katherine Palmer Gordon who was honoured for her book This Place Is Who We Are: Stories of Indigenous Leadership, Resilience, and Connection to Their Homelands.

Boudreau was recognized for his contributions to preserving and promoting local history. He is an author and musician (aka Penny Slim) who has written multiple books on the history of Northern BC. Clarence was nominated for a Jeanne Clarke Publication Award in 2023 for his book I Hear the Mountains Calling, a memoir of his life in the community of Penny, BC, where he was born and spent the first 80 years of his life.

He and his wife Olga won the 1996 Jeanne Clarke Publication Award for their book A Penny for Your Thoughts.

Boudreau is a born storyteller who shares the history of Northern BC not only as an author, but also through his original songs, including a song about the Northern Hardware Canoe Race and a song about the 2018 wildfires, which he performed in front of 750 people at the Ancient Forest/Chun T’oh Whudujut Celebration in September of 2018. Boudreau’s mark on local history comes naturally from a life full of lived experiences.

Palmer Gordon’s book is a collection of ten inspiring stories. X̱aayda voices explain how their Rediscovery camps are healing and empowering their youth; Dzawada̱’enuxw Hereditary Chief Maxwiyalidizi K’odi Nelson shares the story of building a healing centre and ecolodge; Wei Wai Kum Chief Christopher Roberts describes the challenges and opportunities for an urban First Nation looking to prosper while protecting the environment and ancient Ligʷiłdaxʷ history and living cultural values; and other inspiring Indigenous leaders share their own experiences of growth, strength and reconnection.

Eight publications were shortlisted and showcased for this year’s Publication Award:

Artist’s sketches : a history of the forest industry in Prince George and area by Larry Merritt

Berries, baseball & baskets : collection of memories by Shirley May Gratton

Kechika chronicler : William Freer's Northern BC and Yukon diaries, 1942-1978 edited by Jay Sherwood

Prince George history : an artist’s view by Larry Merritt

Talking to the story keepers : tales from the Chilcotin Plateau by Sage Birchwater

The notorious Georges : crime and community in British Columbia's northern interior, 1905–25 by Jonathan Swainger

The secret pocket by Peggy Janicki and illustrated by Carrielynn Victor

This place is who we are : stories of Indigenous leadership, resilience, and connection to their homelands by Katherine Palmer Gordon.

The objective of the Jeanne Clarke Local History Award is to increase interest in local history, to publicize the library’s role in preserving and promoting local history, and to recognize individuals and groups for their efforts in local history. Local history is broadly defined to include all of Northern B.C. so historical work with a regional focus is eligible for recognition.

For more information on the Jeanne Clarke Awards visit