The Saskatchewan Lieutenant Governor Russ Mirasty presented medals Tuesday to honour citizens who made significant contributions across the country, in the province or in a specific community. Bevann Fox was one of them.
Fox was given the Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Medal at Government House in Regina.
The renowned author of Genocidal Love: A Life After Residential School said she was not expecting to receive such an honour.
“It was quite the ordeal this morning … I was nervous about it,” said Fox.
“The (queen’s) relationship with Indigenous People and the treaties – I had mixed feelings at first. (But) receiving this award and being recognized for the work that I do in the community and in the province … I felt humble and I felt like it was an honor for me to receive that.”
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Fox’s book has won awards, including the Indigenous Voices Award and the Creative Saskatchewan Publishing Award. It has also been shortlisted for many other awards.
Her book tells the story of her being a residential school survivor and how she reclaimed her voice to speak her truths. Fox also hosts a television show called The Four which is a local Indigenous women’s talk show that covers a wide range of topics pertaining to Indigenous Peoples.
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“(The Four) focuses on Indigenous people and the successes … breaking that stereotype and negative portrayals of us,” she said. “We (feature) successful people and that’s all-volunteer basis … since 2013.”
Fox said she also had mixed feelings during the time period of Indigenous travelling to Rome to meet with the Pope, and during the Papal visit to Canada over the summer.
She made the decision not to attend the Pope visit in Alberta which thousands of residential school survivors and their families attended.
Fox, who endured unthinkable abuses as a child in a residential school, said an apology isn’t enough.
“To me, forgiveness is a whole process and doesn’t happen overnight,” Fox told Global News in an earlier story.
“His apology (was) somewhat sincere … (a) person can say ‘sorry’ but I think if there was more mention of the children who died at the residential schools (who) didn’t make it home.”
Fox uses her voice to advocate for residential school survivors and the children who did not return home. She hopes her story resonates with others to carry on the important work of reconciliation and sharing stories of residential school survivors.
All recipients were allowed to invite one guest to the ceremony and Fox chose to bring her first-born grandson, Sincere Toto.
“Back then, (my grandson) danced with the dance troupe at the First Nations University when (King) Charles and Camilla visited,” she said. “So, it’s all like this connection throughout the years with royalty … a lot of these past events leading up to today, it was really memorable.”
A total of 7,000 medals will be distributed throughout 2022 and into next year, according to the province.
Author Bevann Fox on living through the residential school system in Canada
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