MANITOBA HISTORICAL SOCIETY AWARDS CEREMONY

Remarks by
The Honourable Janice Filmon, C.M., O.M.
Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba

Government House
Thursday, May 9, 2019 – 5:00 p.m.

Carriers of the torch of history, members and friends of the Manitoba Historical Society, welcome to Government House and this celebration of outstanding contributions to the preservation and promotion of our history.

We are gathered on Treaty One land, on the traditional territory of the Anishinaabe and the homeland of the Metis people.

This celebration is especially exciting this year, when we are preparing for a year of reflection on Manitoba’s history during the 150th anniversary of our province’s entry into Confederation.

As a prelude to that anniversary, this month the centennial of the Winnipeg General Strike is being marked by book launches, conferences, walking tours, and performances.

Round numbers can provide a cue for historical reflection. In the last few years we have had the centennials of the first women in Canada acquiring the right to vote and of the beginning and end of the First World War. Not to mention, of course, the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of Confederation.

But you are here because you don’t need some trick of calendar to make you consider the importance of historical understanding.

You’re here because you know that the past lives in all of us, always – for better and for worse.

You know that traditions of innovation, co-operation and perseverance from generations ago remain relevant to us in our challenges today. You know that unresolved conflicts and unanswered questions hang in the air for generations.

You know that a healthy society is one where history provides a partnership between the generations of the present and those past and not yet born.

In the rush of events, as we adapt to changing technologies and economic opportunities and challenges, it’s easy to focus entirely on the moment at hand.

But when we do that, we lose track of who we are and we lose the ability to understand our own perspective and those of others.
In communities across Manitoba, leaders like you have stepped forward to take on the challenge of keeping our memory alive.

Without your work, priceless heritage structures would decay and rot, stories and observations of the past would be forgotten, artefacts that could bring the past to life would end up in landfills.

Your leadership makes the difference between cultural and historical understanding and societal amnesia.

As we prepare to commemorate Manitoba’s 150th anniversary, there will be more opportunities for leadership like yours. Those who have dedicated themselves to preserving and promoting our history will have opportunities to reflect on what 150 years of Manitoba means to them.

I congratulate you on the leadership that you’ve displayed in earning this award and I look forward to your further contributions to our understanding of the past, present and future.

Thank you. Merci. Meegwich.