Council of the Federation Announces Literacy Award Winners for 2011

Louise Flaherty – Nunavut
Louise Flaherty was born on a plane enroute to Frobisher Bay, Nunavut (now Iqaluit) and grew up in Clyde River. Her grandparents instilled in her a passion for Inuktitut, and an understanding that speaking Inuktitut is a fundamental part of Inuit identity. She was first introduced to English-speaking Inuit when she began visiting Frobisher Bay as a teen. Seeing Inuit who were far more literate in English than in Inuktitut sparked Flaherty’s passion for the promotion and preservation of Inuktitut literacy. She was a teacher for eight years before joining the Nunavut Teacher Education Program. In 2005, Flaherty founded Inhabit Media, an independent publishing house dedicated to the preservation and promotion of Inuit knowledge and values and the Inuktitut language. Incorporated in 2006, it has since published dozens of books and Inuktitut resources used in classrooms throughout Nunavut.

Ningwakwe George – Ontario
Ningwakwe George is a passionate visionary, inspiring Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people with innovative projects. George is Anishnawbe Kwe from the Chippewas of Saugeen First Nation. She advocates the holistic approach to literacy, nurturing Spirit, Heart, Mind and Body in the learning process. She is the namesake for the non-profit organization Ningwakwe Learning Press which was founded in 1996 and publishes Aboriginal literacy material distributed all over North America. George works with ArrowMight Canada which developed innovative literacy curriculum for delivery via DVD using UNESCO award-winning Cuban literacy methodology. She has trained facilitators in sites across Canada. These are but two examples of the overwhelming success of George as a world class innovator with an outstanding commitment to literacy.

Joan MacFarlane – Prince Edward Island
Joan MacFarlane is an adult educator who personifies the literacy leader category for the Council of the Federation Literacy Award. An Education Specialist at the Provincial Correctional Centre, she has inspired many adult learners to improve their skills in literacy, in preparation to write the GED Tests, complete distance online courses from post secondary institutions and work towards their Red Seal in various trades. Under the teaching expertise of MacFarlane, those who spend time in the Correctional Centre often experience success in learning for the first time. When their sentences are completed, they return to society far stronger and with greater potential for success. Treating her students with respect and dignity, MacFarlane encourages each of them to pursue educational goals and leads them in a search for a new beginning; a beginning that promotes learning and opens doors that have otherwise been closed.

Louisette Morin – Québec
Louisette Morin dropped out of school after primary school to support her family and throughout her life, she has faced problems with literacy. Helping her eight brothers and sisters and her son with their school work; starting a new job; becoming involved in community activities: in every situation, literacy was a barrier. When she retired, Morin began literacy training at the Outaouais basic education centre (CEBO) in Gatineau. Today she is involved in a number of social and community projects and coaches adults taking training at the CEBO. Recalling a slogan from Quebec Adult Learners Week, Morin says: “It’s true: learning is worth the effort!”