Debwewin Citation recipient displayed excellence in journalism during Robinson-Huron Annuities trial

ANISHINABEK NATION HEAD OFFICE (March 7, 2022) – Anishinabek Nation Grand Council Chief Reg Niganobe announced today that Dr. Catherine Murton Stoehr is to be honoured with the 2021 Debwewin Citation for excellence in journalism.

Dr. Murton Stoehr has contributed to First Nations news coverage for nearly a decade, but most notably has provided extensive coverage of the historic Robinson-Huron Annuities trial for the Anishinabek News – more coverage than any mainstream news outlet.  

“Reporting on this pivotal court case for the Anishinabek News has been instrumental in keeping the Annuitants and other interested Treaty holders informed, and bringing awareness to Treaties, treaty relationships, and the importance of upholding them,” stated Anishinabek Nation Grand Council Chief Niganobe, on behalf of the 39 member Anishinabek First Nations. “Her contribution to information and reporting is of great value and deserving of honoured recognition. We are excited to present her with this award for work and dedication to quality reporting and public education.”

Mike Restoule, Chair of the Robinson Huron Treaty Trust, says that Dr. Murton Stoehr is a very intelligent, peace-loving, and caring person who has followed the Robinson Huron Treaty annuities litigation from the beginning.

“She has written extensively and created videos on the progress at trial. Dr. Catherine continues to stay in contact with Anishinabe scholars, Elders, and our legal team.  She has taken time from her personal life to attend many of our court hearings that lasted for days to follow our case,” says Restoule. “I truly value her friendship, assistance and commitment in our fight for justice. She has truly earned and is highly deserving of this Debwewin Citation.”

In addition to writing many articles for the Anishinabek News, Catherine Murton Stoehr is a historian of colonial Canada, holding a Ph.D. in Canadian history from Queen’s University. As an instructor at Nipissing University in North Bay, Ontario, she helps students take up the challenge of reconciliation by teaching them about treaties, the scale of the colonial harms to be remediated, and the accomplishments of those who have chosen the treaty path throughout Canadian history. In service of the treaties, Dr. Murton Stoehr is a community organizer for environmental and social justice and returns her knowledge of history to her settler kin and First Nation treaty partners.

The Debwewin Citation will be presented at the Anishinabek Nation 7th Generation Charity’s Anishinabek Evening of Excellence in August.

The Debwewin Citations are the first major awards intended to recognize and encourage excellence in journalism and storytelling about Indigenous issues by First Nations and other writers.  The award name reflects the Anishinaabemowin word for “truth”, and the literal meaning is “to speak from the heart”.

The award has been presented 12 times since first given to Toronto Star journalist Peter Edwards in 2002 for his extensive body of work related to the death of unarmed land defender Dudley George on Sept. 6, 1995, at the former Ipperwash Provincial Park. Since then, it has honoured not just journalists, but others who use their storytelling skills to create greater awareness about First Nations people across Anishinabek Nation territory.

The 2019 recipients were now retired radio programmers for the REZ 91 radio station in Wasauksing First Nation, Vince and Anita Chechok.  The 2014 recipient was author and former journalist Waubgeshig Rice of Wasauksing First Nation for his excellence in storytelling.  The 2013 recipient was CBC reporter Jody Porter for her ongoing coverage of First Nations issues in the Thunder Bay area.  Laura Robinson received the Debwewin Citation in 2010 for her Olympic coverage of Indigenous culture. Anishinabek recipients have included renowned late Anishinabek author Basil Johnston from Cape Croker, columnist Bud Whiteye from Walpole Island, and former writer/broadcaster Jennifer Ashawasagai from Henvey Inlet.  Honourees of the award include Greg Plain, Rick Garrick, Jody Porter, Mark Bonokoski, and Perry McLeod-Shabogesic.  The 2004 honouree was Lynn Johnston, who introduced First Nations people and places into “For Better or For Worse”, her cartoon strip carried by over 2,000 newspapers in 22 countries.