July 13, 2017
OTTAWA – The Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF) is pleased to present the recipients of its Aboriginal Elder Award, Outstanding Aboriginal Educator Award, Public Education Advocacy Award, and two Special Recognition Awards today at its Annual General Meeting at the Ottawa Marriott Hotel.
The recipient of the CTF Aboriginal Elder Award is Garry Robson, a poet, storyteller, longtime Aboriginal Awareness Consultant, and now retiree who is a member of the Turtle Clan of the Peguis Anishinaabe Nation in Manitoba. For 28 years, Robson traveled extensively throughout Manitoba and Canada to deliver presentations to students, parents, educators, administrators, government departments and community agencies. He also served as an Elder/Advisor on dozens of policy and curriculum documents, and written many poems. Robson was nominated by The Manitoba Teachers’ Society, who praised his “real gift to tell the truth about history in a kind and gentle manner”.
The winner of the CTF Outstanding Aboriginal Educator Award is Debbie White, who was nominated by the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO). Throughout her career, White worked as an educator in elementary schools and as an advocate for First Nations, Métis, and Inuit education, giving voice to resolutions, recommendations and serving on a multitude of committees for ETFO, CTF, and the Peel Elementary Teachers’ Local. She has also been part of teams that have developed and facilitated workshops, organized student focus groups, and put forth school initiatives such as Shannen’s Dream.
The CTF Public Education Advocacy Award is presented to Frontier College, Canada’s oldest literacy organization. Since 1989, it has been offering a variety of programs across the country to help people of all ages with their literacy skills. The organization also conducts research on literacy and provides online resources for students, parents, and teachers. The Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association nominated Frontier College because of its “longstanding dedication to uplifting literacy levels in Canada’s Indigenous communities and its major contribution to public education in our country.”
Carol Henderson, the recipient of the CTF Special Recognition Award, was nominated by The Alberta Teachers’ Association (ATA). She is the past president of the ATA and served two terms as president of the Association while bravely undergoing treatment for lymphoblastic leukemia. The former teacher and music specialist also served as ATA provincial vice-president and district representative for the Calgary District. She has been a member of the CTF Board of Directors, the University of Calgary’s Education Faculty Advisory Committee, and several committees within the ATA.
Finally, CTF is also presenting a Special Recognition Award to Susan Swackhammer, the first vice‑president of ETFO. In its letter of nomination, ETFO described her as an “intrepid women’s rights advocate and champion”. In 1988, Swackhammer led the first occasional teachers’ strike in Canada while serving as president of the Brant Teacher Local. She played an instrumental role in the formation of ETFO and its governance structures, and represented the Federation at Queen’s Park, CTF, the Board of Governors of the Ontario Teachers’ Federation and Education International, among others.
Founded in 1920, the Canadian Teachers’ Federation is a national alliance of provincial and territorial Member organizations that represent over 232,000 teachers across Canada. CTF is also a member of Education International. @@CanTeachersFed and @@EnseigneCanada
Heather Smith, CTF President