The 2019 Medium and the Light Award Conferred in Winnipeg

22Dec19

Rossana Deerchild awarded the 2019 Medium and the Light Award by Howard Engel 

By Howard R. Engel 

The recipient of the eighth Medium and the Light Award, in recognition of the ecumenical dimensions of the life and work of Marshall McLuhan, was presented on Thursday, November 28 in Winnipeg, Manitoba as an integral part of the Symposium, “Winnipigeon Homecoming: Marshall McLuhan in Winnipeg”. For the first time, the Medium in the Light Award, a glass obelisk “tetrad” hand-crafted each time by Matthew McMillan of Prairie Studio Glass is accompanied by a $1,000 prize. The Medium and the Light Award in particular and the entire Nov. 28 Symposium are underwritten by the Engel Family Fund at the Winnipeg Foundation.

Rosanna Deerchild is the recipient of this year’s Award. She is a longtime storyteller, published author, poet, broadcaster and host of CBC Radio’s Unreserved where she brings together Indigenous and non-Indigenous people alike the world over by reflecting the rich, diverse and life-supporting experiences of Indigenous peoples back to themselves and to the settler community. It is for this major contribution to bringing the whole people together in truth and reconciliation that she receives the 2019 Medium and the Light Award.

Rosanna Deerchild is a veteran broadcaster, having worked at APTN, CBC, Global and NCI-FM, where she hosted All My Relations. She has also hosted The (204) and the Weekend Morning Show on CBC Radio One and appeared on CBC Radio’s DNTO. She is an award-winning author and poet. Her debut poetry collection this is a small northern town shares her reflections of growing up in a racially divided place. It won the 2009 Aqua Books Lansdowne Prize for Poetry. Her second book Calling Down the Sky is her mother’s residential school survivor story. Rosanna is a co-founder and member of the Indigenous Writers Collective of Manitoba and has also contributed to numerous Indigenous newspapers.

A Cree from O-Pipon-Na-Piwan Cree Nation at South Indian Lake in northern Manitoba, Rosanna now lives and works in her found home of the North End of Winnipeg. (About Unreserved, see https://www.cbc.ca/radio/unreserved).

The Award is usually given annually by The Marshall McLuhan Initiative that was affiliated for its first decade (2007-2017) with St Paul’s College, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada. The University of Manitoba is Marshall McLuhan’s first post-secondary alma mater, where he earned the Gold Medal in Arts for 1933 and an M.A. in English literature (1934).

The inaugural award, in 2011, was presented to the late Fr. Pierre Babin, omi (1925-2012), in Lyons, France. The unique Medium and Light obelisk statuette representing the award was unveiled by Dr. Eric McLuhan during Toronto’s McLuhan Centenary celebrations that summer. Originally conceived by the late Director of the Marshall McLuhan Initiative, Richard J. Osicki (1946-2012), and inspired by the book The Medium and the Light: Reflections on Religion by Marshall McLuhan and edited by Eric McLuhan and Jacek Szklarek (1999) was designed by The Initiative in collaboration with artist Matthew McMillan of Prairie Studio Glass, Winnipeg who uniquely recreates the glass obelisk for each year’s recipient.

 



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