An inspiring and bright star, Myra Cree sadly recently passed away but not without leaving a remarkable legacy. Her lifelong career as a broadcaster made history in Quebec radio, giving Ms. Cree the opportunity and medium to explore, promote, and support her passion for Aboriginal culture, a role she accomplished with her trademark witty style mixed with engaging storytelling.
While Ms. Cree’s style was often punctuated with humour (and won her the 1997 Humour Prize for Radio Montreal), her contributions to the Aboriginal community are no laughing matter. She worked as a driving force behind the survival of the Mohawk language and helped edit Native Languages of Quebec, a book that heightened interest in language preservation and became a focus of a new school in Oka-Kahnesatake that teaches Mohawk. Her home territory held a special place in Ms. Cree’s heart. When conflict arose at Oka in the summer of 1990, she helped found the Movement for Justice and Peace at Oka-Kahnesatake, an organization created to bridge the gap between Native and non-Native people in the Montreal region.
Ms. Cree was a role model for Aboriginal people and inspired her community by sharing her knowledge as a guest speaker at numerous events throughout Canada and as a contributor to research on Aboriginal culture and issues at the National Institute for Scientific Research at the University of Quebec.
Her achievements in broadcasting were acknowledged with the prestigious Judith Jasmin Prize (for radio), and, in 2004, became a member of the Order of Quebec and was awarded the Grand Prix Paul-Gilson des Radios francophones publiques (Paul-Gilson Grand Prize from Public Radio Stations of the Francophonie). While Ms. Cree is well-known for her contributions to radio, she also had a successful early career in television and was the first woman to host the evening news broadcast on Radio-Canada, CBC’s French language service. She also served as President and spokesperson for Land InSights (Terres en Vues), an organization that encourages and promotes Aboriginal culture and talent as part of the Montreal First Peoples Festival. Her passion and strength will be greatly missed but her achievements and inspiration will live on.