Dr. Anton Treuer, executive director of Bemidji State University’s American Indian Resource Center, has been selected as the winner of the 2012 Ken Hale Prize by the Society for the Study of the Indigenous Languages of the Americas.
The prize honors the memory of Kenneth Locke Hale (1934-2001), a renowned MIT linguist who worked on languages all over the world, including the indigenous languages of the Americas, throughout his life.
The Hale Award is given to an individual or group found by the society to exemplify Hale’s commitment to both linguistic scholarship and service to indigenous language communities. It recognizes outstanding community language work and a deep commitment to the documentation, maintenance, promotion and revitalization of indigenous languages in the Americas.
The society recognized Treuer for his academic and community work with the Ojibwe language.
“I am pleased, but also sincerely humbled,” Treuer said of the honor. “We have a lot of work to do, and this acknowledgement just strengthens my commitment to seeing it done. Almost all of my language work has involved team projects and partnerships with great speakers and scholars, so none of my accomplishments would have been possible without them. Miigwech.”
The prize will be awarded at the society’s annual meeting in Boston, Jan. 4, and includes a cash award of $500. The Hale Prize has been awarded since 2002.
Treuer has been director of Bemidji State’s American Indian Resource Center since November of 2012. Prior to that, he spent more than a decade in the University’s Department of Languages and Ethnic Studies since 2000, where he taught Ojibwe language courses and classes on Ojibwe culture, history and literature. He also is editor of the “Oshkaabewis Native Journal,” the only academic journal of the Ojibwe language, and author or editor of nine books.
Treuer’s book, “Ojibwe in Minnesota” was named Minnesota’s Best Read by the Center for the Book at the Library of Congress in 2010. He edited “Awesiinyensag: Dibaajimowinan Ji-gikinoo’amaageng,” an Ojibwe-language children’s book that was named Minnesota’s Best Read for 2011. This summer, he won the Award of Merit from the American Association of State and Local History for his book, “The Assassination of Hole in the Day.”
Treuer’s other books include “Everything You Wanted to Know About Indians But Were Afraid to Ask,” “Ezhichigeyang: Ojibwe Word List,” “Living Our Language: Ojibwe Tales and Oral Histories,” “Aaniin Ekidong: Ojibwe Vocabulary Project,” “Indian Nations of North America” and “Omaa Akiing.”
Treuer is on the boards for the White Earth Land Recovery Project, the Sanford/MeritCare health system and the Minnesota State Arts Board. He has received more than 40 awards and fellowships from organizations including the American Philosophical Society, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Science Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, the Bush Foundation and the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation.
Treuer has a bachelor’s degree from Princeton University and holds master’s and doctorate degrees from the University of Minnesota.