Deborah Dobbins: Your Excellency, fellow laureates, and dear guests.
I acknowledge that we are on land of the Algonquin nation and that Shiloh Centre for Multicultural Roots' project was completed on traditional land of specific Cree, Blackfoot, Metis and Nakota Sioux nations.
Our project documented the stories of the 1000-1500 Black settlers who moved to the Prairies in the early 1900s. These individuals helped develop settlements by clearing thousands of acres of land, building churches, schools, and businesses.
By documenting these stories we have preserved a significant part of Alberta and Canada’s history. Importantly, this project has opened up a dialogue about discrimination and marginalization that Black Western Canadians continue to experience today.
The interviewees were aged 62-102, including 101-year young Mrs. Gladys Leffler, who passed away a few months after her 102nd birthday. A
lberta Human Rights funding made it possible to capture hers and other elders’ wise words and histories in the resulting documents that you heard about, ‘We Are The Roots’; truly a legacy for our people.
University of Lethbridge Dr. Jenna Bailey, who's about to have a baby any moment now, that's why she isn't here, University of Calgary Dr. David Este, who's parents are representing him here today because he wasn't able to be here, and I, 3rd generation African-American-Canadian-Albertan, Deborah Dobbins, we completed this project.
On behalf of my colleagues and those who participated and contributed to this project, Shiloh Centre for Multicultural Roots proudly and humbly accepts this distinguished award. Thank you.
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