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The winner for the 2019-2020 Indigenous History Essay Prize is Emma Anderson for her essay “Smallpox and Settlers: Indigenous Perspectives in the Kiowa Smallpox Legend.”  The subject of Anderson’s essay is a nineteenth-century Kiowa oral narrative about smallpox.  In the narrative, Smallpox, personified as man dressed in European clothes, encounters Saynday, the Kiowa culture hero.  Anderson’s perceptive discussion of this primary source reveals how the story reflects Kiowa understandings of what smallpox is and how it spreads.  She places the story in the context of the history of the Kiowa people, their relations with other Indigenous peoples and white settlers, and the history of disease epidemics on the Great Plains.  The essay is thoroughly researched, original, and demonstrates abundant intellectual curiosity.  Anderson underlines the importance of traditional narratives in understanding Indigenous historical perspectives."  Congratulaions Emma!!

 

Emma writes:  I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all of you and the department for facilitating my success as a student, both while studying Indigenous History and throughout my education in general. I just completed my B.Sc. in Neuroscience in winter, and I’m going to be beginning medical school with the U of M in one week! Although my neuroscience degree prepared me well for this next step in my career, the various Indigenous Studies and History courses I took are arguably just as important for my future career as a physician. I have a strong interest in practicing rural medicine and advocating for improvements to Indigenous healthcare in Manitoba and Canada, and all that I have learned through these courses will undoubtedly help me achieve those goals and provide compassionate, Indigenous-tailored care to my patients. On top of that, taking IS and Indigenous History courses has encouraged me to become more connected to my own Indigenous heritage, and apply the history of my ancestors to my own family and identity as a Métis woman. Thank you all again for this award and the impact you have had on my success as a student.