Originally from Calgary, AB, Rayna Anderson is at The University of Winnipeg on a Wesmen Basketball scholarship, and is the winner of the UWinnipeg 2018-2019 Indigenous History Essay Prize.
Her paper on Brian D. McInnes’s Sounding Thunder: The Stories of Francis Pegahmagabow, was chosen from several essays written in an Indigenous Course Requirement (ICR) history class. These essays are nominated by ICR instructors and are submitted for the essay prize. The Chair of History, Dr. James Hanley, noted that around 600 students took ICR history courses, making winning this prize a tremendous accomplishment.
“I decided to take Indigenous history for my ICR because it is important for everyone to be aware of the impact historical events had on many lives,” said Anderson. “The lack of understanding surrounding Indigenous history is something that must be acknowledged. In order to grow the inclusivity of our society we must become educated in all people’s history. This is why I decided to take this course and why I encourage others do the same.”
After reviewing her analysis of Brian D. McInnes, the prize committee concluded that Anderson “emphasizes that the persistence of the Ojibwe language and culture was a matter of critical concern for Francis Pegahmagabow, an early 20th century Anishinaabe leader and decorated war-hero from Ontario. Additionally, Anderson skillfully connects Pegahmagabow’s passion for his people’s language with secondary sources that examine contemporary efforts to revitalize and sustain the Ojibwe language in the United States and Canada.”
This prize is given annually for an exceptional undergraduate essay on Indigenous history written by a student enroled in one of the The Department of History’s ICR courses. A three person committee made up of ICR instructors adjudicates the essays and selects a winner.
“The purpose of the award is to celebrate the students who are taking ICR history courses,” said Dr. Mary Jane McCallum, Chair of the Indigenization Committee in the Department of History. “Learning about the past has a vitally important role in understanding the world around us. As ICR professors in the history, we appreciate the care that the students show for the past, and the work that they put into communicating about it. This is one way that we can publicly acknowledge that dedication.”
When Anderson is not on a basketball court, she is working towards her Bachelor of Science degree in exercise science.