In recognition of his work with the Ojibwe language, Dr. Anton Treuer, executive director of the American Indian Resource Center at Bemidji State University, was chosen by the Society for the Study of the Indigenous Languages of the Americas (SSILA) as the winner of the 2012 Ken Hale Prize.
The prize honors the memory of the late Kenneth Lock Hale, who was a renowned linguist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Hale worked on languages all over the world, according to a SSILA press release, but started his career as an Americanist and continued working with indigenous languages throughout his life.
“SSILA looks for an individual or group that exemplifies Hale’s commitment to both linguistic scholarship and service to indigenous language communities,” says the press release. “This prize is presented in recognition of outstanding community language work and a deep commitment to the documentation, maintenance, promotion, and revitalization of indigenous languages in the Americas.”
The prize came with a $500 cash award and was presented to Treuer in Boston on January 4. The Ojibwe author has penned nine books including Everything You Wanted to Know About Indians But Were Afraid to Ask and Awesiinyensag – dibaajimowinan ji-gikinoo'amaageng, which was named Minnesota’s Best Read for 2011 by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress.
This wasn’t Treur’s only award of 2012 either. His book, The Assassination of Hole in the Day (Borealis Books, 2010), which explores what led to the murder of the controversial Ojibwe chief of the title, won an Award of Merit from the American Association for State and Local History for historical preservation.