Nov. 15, 2023
For Immediate Release
WATERLOO – Lianne Leddy, an associate professor of History at Wilfrid Laurier University, is being honoured with Canada’s top history prize. She received the 2023 Governor General’s History Award for Scholarly Research in recognition of her book Serpent River Resurgence: Confronting Uranium Mining at Elliot Lake. Leddy documented the destructive legacy of uranium mining on Serpent River First Nation in northern Ontario, of which she is a member.
“As an Anishinaabe woman and scholar, this recognition is tremendously meaningful,” said Leddy. “I first came to this story, which is rooted in my family history, at my grandmother’s kitchen table. This award honours not only the book itself, but also the community’s story of resistance and resilience in the face of 20th century extractive colonialism. I’m heartened by this moving recognition of Indigenous voices and experiences.”
Drawing on extensive archival sources and oral histories, Serpent River Resurgence examines how Cold War colonialism resulted in land encroachment and pollution that compromised Anishinaabek stewardship of local ecosystems and waterways. Leddy also details resistance efforts within Serpent River First Nation led by Anishinaabe leaders, including her grandmother, Gertrude.
Learn more about Serpent River Resurgence in this Q&A with Leddy.
Leddy received the Award for Scholarly Research from Her Excellency the Right Honourable Mary Simon, Governor General of Canada at a ceremony in Ottawa. The award is administered by the Canadian Historical Association in partnership with Canada’s National History Society. The selection committee praised Serpent River Resurgence, calling it “a significant historiographical contribution that speaks to urgent political issues we grapple with today.”
“Congratulations to Dr. Leddy on this incredible scholarly achievement,” said Laurier President and Vice-Chancellor Deborah MacLatchy. “As our university and broader communities continue to work toward reconciliation, historical narratives like this one are essential to help us understand where we’ve been and how to move forward.”
Serpent River Resurgence was previously honoured with three awards from the Canadian Historical Association: the Best Scholarly Book in Canadian History Prize, the Indigenous History Book Prize and the Clio Prize for Ontario.
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