Sarah Hazell wins Governor General’s Innovation Award

May 27, 2024 by Cynthia Macdonald - A&S News

Sarah Hazell, a PhD student in the Department of Anthropology, is the recipient of a 2024 Governor General’s Innovation Award.

The annual awards recognize and celebrate exceptional Canadian individuals, teams and organizations for their excellence in innovation. The initiatives cited are deemed to be “truly exceptional, transformative and positive in their impact on quality of life in Canada,” according to the awards website.

Hazell has been recognized for her essential contribution to the Canadian Archaeological Association Working Group on Unmarked Graves (CAAWGUG.) This group has developed a variety of resources pertaining to the search for missing Indigenous children and unmarked burials associated with the residential schools tragedy in Canada.

CAAWGUG was formed in May of 2021, and is composed of 15 scholars from across Canada. The group has served as an expert panel for Indigenous communities, acted as advocates for survivors, guided private industry and become a key resource for journalists. Hazell has been recognized for creating and developing valuable informational resources for the group, including an innovative video series.

A member of Nipissing First Nation, Hazell is an award-winning archaeologist and anthropologist with over 25 years of experience working in the Middle East, the Canadian Arctic, Alaska, and Northern Ontario. Over the course of her career, she has played a central role in building archaeological capacity in Indigenous communities, with the aim of achieving equity in the domains of research, legislation and industry.

With reference to the CAAWGUG, she says: “The purpose of our work is to develop resources to help Indigenous communities pursuing the search for their missing children. The significance of this award, hopefully, will bring more attention to the difficult work that communities are engaged in to bring their children home. Our working group continues to develop training resources so that communities can ultimately undertake all aspects of the work themselves.”