Brandi Morin, an award-winning Cree/Iroquois/French journalist and author, has won the 2023 PEN Canada Ken Filkow Prize for advancing freedom of expression.
Hailing from Treaty 6 territory in Alberta, Morin has been reporting on Indigenous land and environmental rights, Truth and Reconciliation, and residential school grave discoveries for the last decade. The former APTN and CBC journalist has had freelance bylines in National Geographic, Al Jazeera, VICE, and Elle Canada, among other publications. She published “Our Voice of Fire: A Memoir of a Warrior Rising” – a national bestseller – last year, chronicling her journey from foster kid and runaway to survivor of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls crisis and how she overcame enormous adversity to find her purpose through journalism.
Morin’s freedom of expression was challenged as recently as last month on Vancouver Island when she was threatened with arrest in the course of reporting on a logging blockade in the Fairy Creek Watershed. In 2021, she was the subject of RCMP surveillance, along with other journalists, and accused by police of lying about being barred from visiting the protest site despite video evidence.
RCMP created media exclusion zones during their raid and arrests of the Savage Patch camp protecting old growth forest this morn, which they’re not supposed to be doing. Pardon my language during these exchanges. I did inform them of my rights as a journalist when they threatened… pic.twitter.com/nlv38Jk0Xu
— Brandi Morin (@Songstress28) August 15, 2023
The Ken Filkow Prize, named in memory of the late Winnipeg lawyer and former Chair of the Manitoba Human Rights Commission, was established in 2015. Funded by Cynthia Wine and Philip Slayton, previous winners include photojournalist Amber Bracken, legal scholar Amy Lai, and journalist and publisher Tim Bousquet. Winners are selected by a jury following a public call for nominations each summer.
PEN Canada is a non-partisan organization that celebrates literature, defends freedom of expression, and assists writers in peril at home and abroad.
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