Dene author Antoine Mountain is the winner of 2020’s NorthWords Book Award, the NWT literary non-profit announced last week.
Mountain won the award for his recent book From Bear Rock Mountain: The Life and Times of a Dene Residential School Survivor, which NorthWords described as “a poetic memoir that depicts [Mountain’s] journey through residential school and his path to healing.”
Mountain, born in 1949, was taken from his home and sent to residential school at the age of seven. He was forced to attend three different residential schools over the next decade.
The NorthWords Book Award, established in 2010, recognizes “an outstanding book set in the North and published by an NWT author in the previous year,” organizer said.
It carries a $1,000 prize.
A separate youth book award, which comes with the same amount in prize money, went to Henry Beaver, Eileen Beaver, Mindy Willett, and Tessa Macintosh for Sharing our Truths/Tapwe.
Sharing our Truths completed a uniquely northern series of books in all nine of the territory’s Indigenous languages.
The series was started by Willett, who wanted to make sure her students, their languages and cultures were represented in print.
The Beavers’ book focuses on them teaching four of their grandchildren about the Salt Mountains near Fort Smith, beaver hunting, putting up a tipi, and storytelling.
NorthWords said the book was “full of wisdom and truths that teaches children and parents about the culture of the Cree and Chipewyan First Nations people in the Northwest Territories and how to live on the land.”