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Council of the Federation Literacy Award presented to Susan McCallum

Press Release

05 September 2023

Susan McCallum is the recipient of the Yukon’s 2023 Council of the Federation Literacy Award. Deputy Premier Jeanie McLean presented the award to Susan today at a ceremony held at the Guild Hall in Whitehorse with family, friends and colleagues in attendance. This award celebrates Susan’s creativity in inspiring First Nations youth and citizens to actively engage in their traditional languages.

Susan’s work with Yukon First Nations spans over decades. Her lifelong dedication to illustration is focused on preserving and strengthening the languages of Yukon First Nations. She has illustrated dozens of First Nations children’s books in several languages that are used to educate children in their traditional language. This award recognizes the impact that Susan’s illustrations have had in the Yukon.

Along with her illustrations in children’s books, she has made an impact in the classroom through her school program, Brushworks with Susan, working with thousands of children to encourage confidence and enhance their learning experience. Her work has opened doors to positive learning for children through creativity, learning and respect for nature and Indigenous cultures.

The Council of the Federation Literacy Award recognizes the importance of literacy in enabling participation as a full and active citizen in all areas of society.

Congratulations to Susan McCallum for being honoured with the Council of the Federation Literacy Award. Through her artwork featured in various Indigenous-authored books, she has inspired First Nations youth and people of all generations to actively participate in their traditional languages. Her generous granting of unrestricted permission to the Yukon Native Language Centre to incorporate her work showcases her deep commitment to advancing literacy in Yukon First Nations languages.

Premier and Minister of Economic Development Ranj Pillai

Susan McCallum has spent decades inspiring young minds through creative learning experiences. It is an honour to recognize Susan for her dedication to upholding the vitality of Yukon First Nation languages. Her impact on the younger generation’s connection to their roots is endless, and her efforts deserve the highest recognition.

Deputy Premier and Minister of Education Jeanie McLean

Quick facts

  • Most recently, Shëtsey – My Grandpa, written by Georgette McLeod and illustrated by Susan, was selected by the Dolly Parton Imagination Library as part of the free book gifting program supporting early literacy development of Yukon children. Currently 1,298 children across the Yukon are registered in this program.
  • The Council of the Federation Literacy Award was established in 2004 and is presented annually to recipients across the country. The award recognizes excellence of learners, educators, volunteers, community organizations and businesses for outstanding achievements, innovative practices and excellence in adult literacy. The Government of Yukon began presenting the Literacy Award in 2005.
  • The Council of the Federation’s members are the 13 Premiers of Canada. The council fosters a constructive relationship among the provinces and territories and with the federal government, to strengthen the Canadian federation.
  • The Department of Economic Development’s Labour Market Development Branch adjudicates the award nomination process. Prior to 2022, this was led by the Department of Education.

Media contact

Renée Francoeur
Cabinet Communications

Saskrita Shrestha
Communications, Economic Development


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