Sterling Prize 2020: How Canada changed the definition of genocide while engaging in crimes against Indigenous Peoples

August 20, 2020

Tamara Starblanket is the recipient of the 2020 Nora and Ted Sterling Prize in Support of Controversy for her book Suffer the Little Children: Genocide, Indigenous Nations and the Canadian State. Starblanket’s book provides an international legal analysis of genocide—intentional acts done to destroy a group of people. Her book proves, according to international law, that Canada committed genocide against Indigenous Peoples.

“Canada has knowingly instituted policies and laws in relation to Indigenous Nations which can be termed genocidal which have led to irrecoverable destruction and loss,” says Starblanket, Dean of Academics at Native Education College and a Cree woman from Ahtahkakoop First Nation in Treaty Six. “It is fitting that a fully comprehensive dialogue on Canada’s history and present be opened recognizing its culpability for the crime of genocide.”  

Starblanket will receive the Sterling Prize at an award ceremony on Thursday, Oct. 29 at the Native Education College in Vancouver. Following the ceremony, Starblanket will give a presentation on Canada’s role in changing the definition of genocide and the legal impact internationally. The lecture will be livestreamed and free to view with registration.

The Sterling Prize was first awarded in 1993 and remains committed to recognizing work that provokes and contributes to the understanding of controversy, while presenting new ways of looking at the world and challenging the status quo. The prize recognizes work across disciplines and departments and is awarded annually by the Sterling Prize committee.