Debates of the Senate  
2nd Session, 40th Parliament,Volume 146, Issue 12.
  Wednesday, February 25, 2009
The 16th Annual Saskatchewan Book Awards Gala

Hon. Lillian Eva Dyck: Honourable senators, on November 29 of last year, the sixteenth annual Saskatchewan Book Awards gala took place in Regina. These prestigious literary awards recognize Saskatchewan's finest writers and publishers.

Today, I would like to commend an acclaimed poet, Louise Bernice Halfe, a member of the Saddle Lake First Nations in Alberta, on her literary success as one of Canada's leading Aboriginal women writers.

Louise lives in the Saskatoon area with her husband, Dr. Peter Butt. Louise is the holder of many awards and distinctions, such as the 2005-06 Poet Laureate of Saskatchewan.

With over 113 entries and titles submitted to the Saskatchewan Book Awards competition, Louise was the winner of two prestigious awards; the Saskatoon Book Award and the First Peoples Publishing Award for her book of poetry, The Crooked Good, published in 2008.

Louise made her literary debut in 1990 as a poet by submitting her work to the Writing Circle: Native Women of Western Canada, an anthology of writings written by Aboriginal women storytellers and writers.

Her first book of poetry, Bear Bones & Feathers, published in 1994, received the Canadian People's Poet Award and won the Milton Acorn Award in 1996. Her second book, Blue Marrow, published in 1998, was a finalist for both the Governor General's Literary Award for Poetry and the Pat Lowther Memorial Award. Blue Marrow was also a finalist for the 1998 Saskatchewan Book of the Year Award and the Saskatchewan Poetry Award.

Honourable senators, I congratulate Louise Bernice Halfe on her accomplishments and achievements as a poet who weaves the Cree language and teachings into her works. Her creativity and her magic with words encompass Aboriginal themes on a personal, historical, cultural and mythical perspective. I am honoured to be one of her circle of friends.

Honourable senators, Louise Halfe's words and stories speak to First Nations issues in Canada, and I highly recommend her writings to you.