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Prince George’s Exploration Place, late Lheidli Elder Mary Gouchie win local history award

The award was for the collaborative exhibit titled Mary Gouchie: Hubodulh’eh
mary-gouchie-lheidli-t'enneh
The Jeanne Clarke Award for Outstanding Service in the field of local history was awarded to The Exploration Place and the late Mary Gouchie for their collaborative exhibit titled Mary Gouchie: Hubodulh’eh. (via YXS Airport/Philomena Hughes)

The Exploration Place and late Lheidli T’enneh Elder Mary Gouchie are being recognized for outstanding service in Prince George history.

The Jeanne Clarke Award for Outstanding Service in the field of local history was awarded to The Exploration Place and the late Mary Gouchie for their collaborative exhibit titled Mary Gouchie: Hubodulh’eh.

“The friendship between the Museum and the Lheidli T’enneh Nation is one of our most important relationships,” said Tracy Calogheros, CEO of the Exploration Place, in a news release.

“Mary exemplified the role that Elders can play in sharing, preserving and teaching through oral histories and traditional ways of knowing; she was generous with her time and her instruction and we were thrilled to be able to share some of that with the entire community.”

Mary Gouchie: Hubodulh’eh was shown in conjunction with Our Living Languages: First Peoples’ Voices in BC, an exhibition from the Royal BC Museum and First Peoples’ Cultural Council that celebrates the resilience and diversity of Indigenous languages in the face of change.

The Exploration Place’s in-house exhibit titled Mary Gouchie: Hubodulh’eh showcased one Lheidli T’enneh Elder’s commitment to language revitalization. 

Gouchie believed preserving the Lheidli T’enneh culture started with language revitalization and was instrumental in the recovery and documentation of the written and spoken Lheidli T’enneh dialect of Dakelh.

The exhibit focused on the legacy she left behind and was featured at Exploration Place from Sep. 15, 2019 to Jan. 6, 2020.

The Prince George museum worked closely with Gouchie prior to her 2019 passing.

“Mary was such a special person and her passion and commitment to language revitalization, culture and family was inspiring,” says Museum Curator Alyssa Leier in the news release.

“We are thrilled that this exhibit and Mary’s work and dedication are being honoured in this way”.

Great-granddaughter Elissa Gagnon was one of the family members on-hand to accept the award on Mary’s behalf.

“I am honoured and grateful for accepting this award on behalf of my Great Grandmother and entire Gouchie family,” said Gagnon.  

“She was a wise and a humble woman and was dedicated to her family and to the work she did in the community. A legacy of local history that will not be forgotten, I would like to thank the Prince George Public Library and the Exploration Place for their commitment in conveying Mary Gouchie’s life and work”.