Ernie Walker (2007)

walkerAffiliation at the time of the award: University of Saskatchewan, Archaeology.

Citation: In June of 2001, “Ernie”- “Miko Peyasew” (Red Thunderbird), bows to receive the ceremonial feather headdress of an Honorary Chief bestowed by spiritual elders and band chiefs.

For some 20 years, Ernie Walker had reached out, above and beyond his University of Saskatchewan faculty position in the Department of Archaeology, to his larger community, “changing the institutional and cultural relationship and mutual response among Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal persons” to the point of having leaders declaring that “his leadership” had been “crucial for the future of Saskatchewan and Aboriginal people.”

But for Ernie Walker, the dedication to reach out across cultural boundaries can be argued to be simply the consistent expression of his wider dedication to transcend all knowledge boundaries whether they be academic, social, research related or learning and teaching related. “Human history and Natural History are the opposite sides of the same coin… In many ways Archaeology is the ultimate science,” he proudly proclaims. Flying this revolutionary banner from class, to lab, to field, and back again, our “bone-man” sparks enthusiasm, growth, and gratefulness, sketching himself, so to speak, the “backbone” of a powerful reformulation of academia, and obtaining on the way all Teaching Awards available at the University of Saskatchewan, as well as that offered by the British Columbia Institute of Technology. A student comments, “He teaches everywhere he goes, in whatever he does . . . he teaches all the time.” As he teaches, he creates community, and today we welcome him into his new community—the 3M Teaching Fellowship.