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Sask. journalist wins Pulitzer Prize, Peabody for podcast about her father's residential school experience

Journalist Connie Walker's podcast about her father's experience at a residential school in Duck Lake, Sask., has won the Pulitzer Prize for best audio journalism. (Submitted by Connie Walker - image credit)
Journalist Connie Walker's podcast about her father's experience at a residential school in Duck Lake, Sask., has won the Pulitzer Prize for best audio journalism. (Submitted by Connie Walker - image credit)

A Saskatchewan First Nations woman's story about her father's residential school experience has won the Pulitzer Prize and a Peabody Award in the span of 24 hours.

Stolen: Surviving St. Michael's, a podcast by journalist Connie Walker and the team at Spotify's Gimlet Media, won the 2023 Pulitzer Prize on Monday for best audio journalism. The following day, it won a Peabody Award for its "its tenacious reporting and continued commitment to recognizing the full history of the Indigenous community" in the podcast and radio category.

"I feel like I'm still in shock. It's disbelief. It means so much. It's an incredible honour," Walker said Monday.

"I think of all of the people who bravely shared these stories with us. People should know these stories. More people will hear them now."

Supplied by Gimlet Media
Supplied by Gimlet Media

Walker is a former CBC journalist now working for New York-based Gimlet Media. She's a member of the Okanese First Nation in southern Saskatchewan.

The team working with Walker included former Saskatoon StarPhoenix reporter Betty Ann Adam, a member of the Fond du Lac Denesuline Nation in northern Saskatchewan.

Walker said it's important to recognize the history and stories of Indigenous communities, and that these stories are increasingly being told by Indigenous people themselves.

"Our stories do matter," she said.

LISTEN| CBC Radio's The Morning Edition speaks with Walker about the honour and what it says about the stories she has been telling her whole career:

Walker said she was inspired by the care Adam took with survivors, and by the determination of another Indigenous team member, Chantelle Bellrichard, who unearthed thousands of pages of documents for the project.

Walker, reached by phone in Seattle, said she's been on the phone all day with her team, siblings and other relatives.

"It's been non-stop," she said. "Lots of happy tears."

Winners in other Pulitzer categories announced Monday included the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times and the Associated Press.

LISTEN| Cree journalist Connie Walker wins Pulitzer and Peabody in same week:

The Peabody Awards, which honour stories told in broadcasting and digital media, will be handed out at a ceremony on June 11. Winners in other categories included PBS, Apple TV+ and Disney+ and HBO Max.