Ahenakew obtained her Bachelor of Eduation degree from the U of S in 1979, followed by a Master of Arts in Cree linguistics from the University of Manitoba. Other awards and accolades to her name include an honorary Doctor of Laws from the U of S (1997), the Order of Canada (1998) and the Saskatchewan Order of Merit (2005).
Her works on the language, culture and history of the Cree people range from classroom readers and workbooks used across the country to popular lectures, childrens books, and scholarly research papers on language and linguistics. By focusing on the transcription, analysis, and translation of traditional stories and autobiographical accounts, she was able to prepare them for publication in Cree (with an English translation on facing pages) and in their original literary form. She is widely recognized as one of the most distinguished Aboriginal scholars in Canada.
"Our organization is truly honoured and pleased to be able to acknowledge her outstanding efforts and perseverance in this meaningful way," said Carol Cooley, CEO of SPL.
Currently named The Library on 20th Street branch, the facility was renamed as part of SPL’s commitment to responding to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action.