Saskatoon Public Library renaming branch after Freda Ahenakew

Saskatoon Public Library is renaming a branch after Freda Ahenakew, who worked tirelessly to preserve the Cree language. Dayne Winter / Global News

Saskatoon Public Library (SPL) is renaming one of its branches to honour Freda Ahenahew, who worked to preserve the Cree language.

Officials said the Library on 20th Street will be renamed after Ahenakew as part of SPL’s commitment to respond to findings from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

“Dr. Ahenakew was a truly inspiring woman whose tireless work preserving Indigenous languages, particularly Cree, has had profound and lasting effects throughout Canada,” Carol Cooley, CEO and director of libraries with the SPL, said in a statement.

“Our organization is truly honoured and pleased to be able to acknowledge her outstanding efforts and perseverance in this meaningful way.”

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Along with teaching at the University of Saskatchewan and heading up the Department of Native Studies at the University of Manitoba, Ahenakew was a prolific writer, with many of her books printed in Cree and then translated to English.

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She received many honours in her lifetime, including a National Aboriginal Achievement Award in Education, the Order of Canada and the Saskatchewan Order of Merit.

“She was a great believer in the power of education and of leading by example,” Ahenakew’s daughter Dolores Sand said.

“We hope that many people will be inspired by this dedication in her honour as an Indigenous woman, scholar and leader in Cree language and culture preservation.”

Ahenakew passed away in 2011.

An official renaming ceremony will take place on Feb. 10, 2017.

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