Inuk journalist awarded for best image in human rights exhibition
Ossie Michelin snapped photo of woman praying during 2013 anti-fracking demonstration
An Inuk journalist's now-iconic photograph of a Mi'kmaq woman praying during the 2013 fight against fracking in New Brunswick is part of a national exhibit at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg.
The photo, taken by Inuk journalist Ossie Michelin, is of Amanda Polchies kneeling in front of a line of police while holding an eagle feather. Polchies was one of dozens of people from the Elsipogtog First Nation and across the Atlantic who took part in demonstrations that year, which Michelin covered as a reporter for APTN National News.
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Titled Mi'kmaq Woman, 2013, it was named best photograph in the museum's Points of View: A National Human Rights Photography Exhibition, made up of 70 photographs.
"It's pretty indisputable that what Indigenous people are fighting for are their basic human rights," Michelin said.
"So now that the Canadian Museum for Human Rights recognizes it, it's time for the federal government, provincial governments, territorial governments and industry to recognize this as well."
Since taking the photograph, Michelin has seen Mi'kmaq Woman, 2013 featured in magazines, books and even turned into paintings.
It isn't the Labrador-based journalist's only piece in the exhibition, which also includes his photo of an Inuk woman drumming while blocking a bus en route to the Muskrat Falls construction site in Labrador.
"And the thing is, they're both of Indigenous women defending their water," Michelin said.
'Worth a thousand words'
Michelin's photograph was also named best photograph in the theme reconciliation, one of four themes in the exhibit, which drew its 70 photos from thousands of submissions.
"Each story they tell is truly worth a thousand words — reflecting resilience and resistance, dignity and compassion, and the challenges that continue to confront us," museum president and CEO John Young said in a news release.
Michelin's image has also been turned into a 3D image, which allows those with visual impairments to "see" the photo through their fingertips.