Indigenous Success Stories

Media and Reconciliation (84-86)

Rick Garrick Debwewin Citation recipient for excellence in journalism

June 25, 2024

NationTalk: ANISHINABEK NATION TERRITORY – Journalist Rick Garrick, member of Lac Seul First Nation, has been selected for this year’s Debwewin Citation for excellence in journalism and storytelling.

“For many years, we have all seen and read the work created by Rick Garrick through several publications, including the Anishinabek News,” states Anishinabek Nation Grand Council Chief Linda Debassige. “He demonstrates knowledge and passion through stories and photos of resilience throughout all of his work. His commitment to Indigenous people and specifically throughout the Anishinabek Nation territory, provides readers with in-depth knowledge of issues, successes, and facts that are very real and dear to us all. His contributions continue to be valuable to all of us. We are both honoured and excited to present Rick with this reward for all of his inspiring work.”

Rick Garrick, who was raised on the land on Lac Seul during his childhood, is an award-winning freelance journalist who lives in Thunder Bay, Ont., with his partner and son. He has been writing stories and shooting photographs for Anishinabek News, the Great Lakes Pow Wow Guide, and Wawatay News since the early 2000s after graduating from Print Journalism at Cambrian College in 2002. He mainly covers stories about Indigenous people from Northern Ontario, and has also covered stories from all over Anishinabek Nation territory.

He previously received the Debwewin Citation in 2003 and will be awarded the 2024 Debwewin Citation this year.

The Debwewin Citation is the first major award intended to recognize and encourage excellence in reporting or storytelling about Indigenous issues by First Nations and other writers. A selection committee appointed by the Anishinabek Nation Communications Department solicits nominations for the award, whose name reflects the Anishinaabemowin words for “truth” and means “to speak from the heart”.

Cinematographer Ed Regan was the 2023 recipient. The award has been presented 15 times since first given to Toronto Star journalist Peter Edwards in 2002 for his extensive body of work related to the death of unarmed land defender Dudley George on Sept. 6, 1995, at the former Ipperwash Provincial Park. Since then, it has honoured journalists and those who use their storytelling skills to create greater awareness about First Nations people across Anishinabek Nation territory.

Previous Debwewin Citation Recipients:

  • Maurice Switzer, founder of the Debwewin Citations of Alderville First Nation, 2022 recipient
  • Catherine Murton Stoehr, freelance Anishinabek News journalist, 2021 recipient
  • Vince and Anita Chechok, now retired radio programmers for the REZ 91 radio station in Wasauksing First Nation, 2019 recipients
  • Waubgeshig Rice of Wasauksing First Nation, author, and former journalist, 2014 recipient
  • The late CBC reporter Jody Porter, 2013 recipient for ongoing coverage of First Nations issues in the Thunder Bay area
  • Laura Robinson, 2010 recipient for Olympic coverage of Indigenous culture
  • Anishinabek recipients have included renowned late Anishinabek author Basil Johnston from Cape Croker; columnist Bud Whiteye from Walpole Island; and former writer/broadcaster Jennifer Ashawasagai from Henvey Inlet

Honourees of the award include Greg Plain, the late Jody Porter, Mark Bonokoski, and Perry McLeod-Shabogesic. The 2004 honouree, Lynn Johnston, introduced First Nations people and places into For Better or For Worse, her cartoon strip carried in over 22 countries.