Canadians Receive Governor General`s Award for Bringing 17th Century Wildlife & Aboriginal Culture to Life

November 19, 2012

The stunning visual arts literary work of this year’s recipient of the Sir John A. Macdonald Prize has been displayed in a museum in Tulsa, Oklahoma and now it’s receiving national recognition on this side of the border.  The Codex Canadensis and the Writings of Louis Nicolas: The Natural History of the New World is the recipient of the 2012 Governor General’s History Award for Scholarly Research.

This 17th-century illustrated natural history of eastern North America - centered on present-day Quebec - brings to a modern audience the writings and drawings of a French Jesuit priest, Louis Nicolas, who explored Canada between 1664 and 1675.  The beautiful 88 pages of colour illustrations are a detailed documentation of wildlife and aboriginal culture. 

Réal Ouellet of Université Laval modernized the original French text, and Nancy Senior of the University of Saskatchewan translated it into English.  The introduction by art historian François-Marc Gagnon puts Nicola’s text and images into the context of the 17th-century priest who lived among the Indians of 15 different nations over a decade. For their work, Ouellet, Senior and Gagnon will receive their prestigious award from His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada on Monday, December 10th in Ottawa at 10:30 a.m. at Rideau Hall. 

The Sir John A. Macdonald Prize is the top history-writing prize for Canadian academics.  The prize is awarded annually by the Canadian Historical Association.  The recipients receive a cash prize of $1,000 generously provided by Manulife Financial, as well as an all-expense paid trip for the recipients to Ottawa provided by Canada’s History Society. 

 “This year’s winning entry is a great reminder that the Macdonald Prize is more than simply about scholarly monographs,” observed Michel Duquet, CHA Executive Director.  “It recognises a wide range of scholarly works. Codex Canadensis is a model of interdisciplinary research and of erudite contextualization that is highly deserving of the prize.”

 «Le livre gagnantde cette année nous rappelle que le prix Macdonald ne se limite pasqu’aux monographies savantes. Il reconnaît un large éventaild’œuvres d’érudition. Codex Canadensis est un modèle derecherche interdisciplinaire et de contextualisationsavante quiest digne de ce prix,»Michel Duquet, Directeur général de la SHC.              

The Governor General’s History Awards bring together students, teachers, historians, museums and community organizations, writers and media producers to celebrate as well as learn from each other.  The day prior to the award ceremonies, recipients will participate in a public history forum at the Canadian War Museum.  This year’s forum, “How Should the Great War Be Remembered?” is open to the public to attend onsite or online by registering at

 About Canadian Historical Association

 Founded in 1922, the Canadian Historical Association/Société historique du Canada is a bilingual scholarly organization dedicated to research in all fields of history; it is the largest association of its kind in Canada.  The CHA/SHC oversees a vigorous publication program; it lobbies governments, archives, and museums in Canada and elsewhere on issues relating to the preservation and availability of historical records; it organizes an annual conference in which historians showcase their research; it supports graduate students pursuing degrees in history; and it offers a number of prizes to recognize and promote excellence in historical scholarship.

 À propos de la Société historique du Canada

Fondée en 1922 et entièrement bilingue, la Société historique du Canada / Canadian Historical Association est une organisation nationale qui a pour but d'encourager la recherche dans tous les domaines de l'histoire; elle est la plus importante organisation représentant les chercheurs en histoire au Canada. La Société prend part à plusieurs activités. Elle parraine un programme dynamique de publication; elle agit comme groupe de pression auprès des gouvernements, des institutions d'archives et des musées pour des questions touchant la préservation et la disponibilité des documents historiques; elle organise une réunion annuelle qui rassemble les historiens de tout le pays; elle décerne un certain nombre de prix pour récompenser et encourager l'excellence en recherche historique.

About Manulife

Manulife Financial is a leading Canada-based financial services group with principal operations in Asia, Canada and the United States. In 2012, it celebrates 125 years of providing clients strong, reliable, trustworthy and forward-thinking solutions for their most significant financial decisions. Its international network of employees, agents and distribution partners offers financial protection and wealth management products and services. These products and services include individual life insurance, group life and health insurance, long-term care services, pension products, annuities, mutual funds and banking products. Manulife provides asset management services to institutional customers worldwide and offer reinsurance solutions, specializing in property and casualty retrocession.

À propos de Manuvie

La Financière Manuvie, groupe canadien et chef de file des services financiers, exerce ses activités principalement en Asie, au Canada et aux États-Unis. Elle célèbre en 2012 son 125e anniversaire et continue d’offrir des solutions solides, fiables, sûres et avant-gardistes pour appuyer ses clients dans leurs décisions financières les plus importantes. Les produits et services offerts comprennent l'assurance vie individuelle, l'assurance vie et maladie collective, l’assurance soins de longue durée, les régimes de retraite, les rentes, les fonds communs de placement et les produits bancaires. Manulife propose des services de gestion d’actif à nos clients institutionnels du monde entier ainsi que des solutions de réassurance, particulièrement dans le secteur de la rétrocession accident.

About Canada’s History Society

Canada’s History Society is a Winnipeg-based charitable organization devoted to popularizing Canadian history.  In addition to publishing Canada’s History (formerly The Beaver) magazine, and Kayak: Canada’s History Magazine for Kids, the Society also produces a number of awards and programs to encourage more discovery, celebrations and understanding about our rich history and culture.  More details can be found at

À propos de la Société Histoire Canada

La Société Histoire Canada est un organisme de bienfaisance national dont le mandat consiste populariser l’histoire canadienne.  En plus de remettre les Prix d’histoire du Gouverneur général et de publier Canada’s History (anciennement The Beaver), ainsi que Kayak: Navigue dans l’histoire du Canada, la Société produit de nombreux programmes éducatifs, qu’elle diffuse en ligne, afin de favoriser la découverte et la compréhension de notre culture et de notre histoire.  Vous trouverez plus de détails sur

 For further information, please contact:

 Nicole Harris

Maverick Media Solutions



Deborah Morrison

President & CEO, Canada’s History Society

1-866-952-3444, ext. 222

Posted by: Canada's National History Society- Winnipeg on December 4, 2012.
Previous story