2023 Qilak Award: Wilfred Buck

CASCA and the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada are pleased to announce that Wilfred Buck is the recipient of the 2023 Qilak Award for Astronomy Communications, Public Education and Outreach. This award recognizes outstanding outreach efforts over a career, in particular the incredible impact Mr. Buck has had sharing Indigenous knowledge of the sky with both Indigenous peoples around the world and the Canadian public. Wilfred Buck is a member of the Opaskwayak Cree Nation and a well-known Indigenous star lore expert. He worked for over a decade as a Science Facilitator at the Manitoba First Nations Education Resource Centre and has researched and consulted with elders for over 15 years to learn more about the astronomical knowledge of Cree, Ojibway, and Lakota peoples. He is highly regarded internationally for his efforts in communicating this knowledge with educators and researchers, having shared his expertise for museum exhibits and films, panel discussions, and in many public lectures. For nearly two decades, Wilfred Buck has been using portable planetariums to teach First Nations students about the stars (“atchakosuk” in Cree) visible in the night sky. He is the author of two books exploring the night sky from an Indigenous perspective. His third book and autobiography “I Have Lived Four Lives” outlines a heart-stirring journey from an impoverished upbringing to pursuing a career in teaching and speaks to discovery and healing for Indigenous youth. He was recognized in 2018 by the Canadian Teachers Federation with its Outstanding Indigenous Educator Award and is the subject of an upcoming National Film Board sponsored documentary, “Wilfred Buck.”

CASCA and the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada are delighted to recognize Wilfred Buck’s efforts with this award.

This announcement is being made separately to the other CASCA awards communicated earlier this week to coördinate a simultaneous announcement with RASC.

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