People passionate about nature

Chief David Crate

Prairie Crocus Award recipient 2010

From the award presentation made by Roger Turenne at the October 18th, 2010 Discovery Evening.

Established in 1995 by Nature Manitoba, the Prairie Crocus Award is granted to individuals “For outstanding service in preserving a part of Manitoba in its natural state.”.

I would like to stress the word outstanding. This award is not handed out routinely or on a yearly basis. In fact, it was last given in 2003. We are always on the lookout for individuals who have demonstrated leadership, courage and vision in protecting Manitoba’s great natural landscape. When the work of Chief David Crate of the Fisher River Cree Nation was brought to our attention by our guest speaker this evening, Ron Thiessen, we knew we had found our ideal candidate to receive this award.

David Crate was first elected to the Fisher River Cree Nation Council in 1985, and then elected Chief in 1989. Throughout his career, he has participated in numerous projects that have improved the community, such as the establishment of its Healing Centre, a 20-year vision and action plan for the community, and joint venture project with the Province of Manitoba that will see the development of cottage lots in the Fisher River area.

Chief Crate’s vision and influence extends way beyond the boundaries of Fisher River. He sits on a council to develop a Masters Program in Development Studies at the University of Winnipeg that is connected to 23 universities; the Environment Canada Lake Winnipeg Basin Stewardship Fund public advisory committee; the Assembly of First Nation’s Chief’s Committee on Education; The Manitoba First Nation Information and Communications Technologies training initiative The Manitoba First Nation Technology Council Inaugural Group; and the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs Executive Council.

Chief David Crate and his Council have been working to protect part of Fisher River’s traditional territory since 1999. They have partnered with the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) in a quest for a 155,000 ha provincial park that would protect the natural features and cultural heritage of the area, as well as provide sustainable economic opportunities for the people of Fisher Bay. The Ochiwasahow, or Fisher Bay, provincial park as proposed would prohibit all industrial activities within its boundaries.

Unfortunately, the journey towards that provincial park is not yet concluded, as, in recent weeks, the Manitoba government has once again delayed its establishment. But we are confident that with the kind of leadership exemplified by Chief David Crate this project will ultimately succeed.

Chief David Crate is a caring, genuine, and approachable leader who understands the essential importance of securing large areas of wilderness in their natural state for the benefit of all life. Through his tireless and cooperative efforts, Chief Crate serves as a role model for First Nations and all peoples across Canada who desire achieving an ideal balance of sociological, economic, and environmental needs.

It gives me great pleasure to present the Prairie Crocus Award to Chief Davie Crate of the Fisher River Cree Nation.