Ahab Spence

Dr. Ahab Spence is an Anglican Priest, educator, oral historian, and preserver of the Cree language.  He was born in 1911 in Split Lake, Manitoba.  Dr. Spence attended an Indian Residential School in The Pas from 1921-1928, a public school in Mortlach in Saskatchewan and graduated from high school in Prince Albert in 1933.  In 1937, he obtained his Licentiate in Theology from Emmanuel College in Saskatoon, and obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Saskatchewan in 1952.  From 1937-1965, he worked as a clergyman and teacher in Stanley Mission, and on the Little Pine Reserve.  From 1947 to 1959, he was a parish priest, canon and archdeacon in communities in Saskatchewan.  From 1963 to 1965, he was the principal of the Pelican Residential School, and a Chaplain to the RCAF.  From 1971 to 1973, he taught Cree and Native Studies at Brandon University.  During this time, he also worked as a Cree Translator for Aboriginal communities and various levels of government.  From 1968 to 1970, he worked for the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs developing programs and projects related to Aboriginal cultural development.  He was a researcher, executive director and president of the Manitoba Indian Brotherhood.  Since 1980, he has lectured at the Saskatchewan Indian Federated College and taught Cree and Aboriginal Studies at the University of Regina. He was a member of the National Forum on Secondary Education, the Standing Committee on Native Languages in Canada, and is a recipient of an Honourary LLD from the University of Saskatchewan, the Centennial Medal in 1967, and the Order of Canada in 1982.