'I have always been told that the treaty is so much more than the written text'- Aimée Craft

Aboriginal issues were front and centre at the 2013 Manitoba Book Awards. Thirteen awards were given out at an event at the West End Cultural Centre on April 27.

Barbara Huck's Kisiskatchewan: The Great River Road won the McNally Robinson Book of the Year and Indians Wear Red: Colonialism, Resistance and Aboriginal Street Gangs by Elizabeth Comack, Lawrence Deane, Larry Morrissette and Jim Silver won the Alexander Kennedy Isbister Award for Non-Fiction. Penny M. Thomas's Powwow Counting in Cree won in the younger category of the McNally Robinson Book for Young People Award.

Breathing Life into the Stone Fort Treaty: An Anishinabe Understanding of Treaty One

Breathing Life into the Stone Fort Treaty: An Anishinabe Understanding of Treaty One, by Aimée Craft. (Purich Publishing)

Winning the Eileen McTavish Sykes Award for Best First Book is Aimée Craft for Breathing Life into the Stone Fort Treaty: An Anishinabe Understanding of Treaty One. The indigenous Manitoba lawyer said it is a bringing forward of a rich history of oral tradition and stories that have been shared with her over the years.

"I feel that for me, it was an honour and a privilege to have the opportunity to write this book and to write it on behalf of Anishinabe people," she said.

"I have always been told that the treaty is so much more than the written text," she continued. She wanted to try to understand it from an indigenous perspective, and how it is important to understand the spirit and intent of the words, in terms of sharing land rather than the idea of acquisition of land.

"When I was younger, I was told I'm the seventh generation after the making of the treaty. We're the generation that has the responsibility to make sure that the promises that were made are being upheld, and for the large part, those promises are not being upheld. I think it's the responsibility of our generation to remember what it is that was agreed to and where we need to go from here to set the course straight," she said.

The other awards at the 2013 Manitoba Book Awards, presented by the Manitoba Writers’ Guild and the Association of Manitoba Book Publishers:

Barbara Huck Kisiskatchewan: The Great River Road won Book of the Year

Barbara Huck's Kisiskatchewan: The Great River Road won Book of the Year (Heartland Associates)

  • Lansdowne Prize for Poetry: Tether by Laurelyn Whitt (Seraphim Editions)
  • Best Illustrated Book of the Year: 300 Years of Beer: An Illustrated History of Brewing in Manitoba by Bill Wright & Dave Craig (Great Plains Publications)
  • Manuela Dias Book Design of the Year: 100 Masters: Only in Canada by Stephen Borys and Andrew Kear (Winnipeg Art Gallery, design by Frank Reimer)
  • Michael Van Rooy Award for Genre Fiction: Thunder Road, by Chadwick Ginther (Ravenstone, an imprint of Turnstone Press)
  • Carol Shields Winnipeg Book Award: Stuck in the Middle: Dissenting Views of Winnipeg, photographs by Bryan Scott, text by Bartley Kives (Great Plains Publications)
  • Margaret Laurence Award for Fiction: The Insistent Garden by Rosie Chard (NeWest Press)
  •  John Hirsch Award for Most Promising Manitoba Writer: Jonathan Ball
  •  Mary Scorer Award for Best Book by a Manitoba Publisher: Manitoba Butterflies: A Field Guide by Simone Hébert Allard (Turnstone Press)
  • McNally Robinson Book for Young People Award - Older Category: The Fall, by Colleen Nelson (Great Plains Teen Fiction)