Canadian journalist, Walker, has won the 2023 Pulitzer Prize for “best audio reporting” for his work titled “Stolen: Surviving St. Michael’s”. Part of a team reporting on the abuse suffered by children in church boarding schools, Walker, a member of the Okanese First Nation Society in Southern Saskatchewan, expressed his gratitude for the recognition. In a statement to the press, he said, “I still feel like I’m in shock. It means a lot. It’s an incredible honor. I think of all the people who have shared these stories with us bravely. People should know these stories. Now more people will hear it.”
The church boarding schools, which operated from the early 1880s until 1998, have been described as the site of the worst child abuse in Canadian history. Over 150,000 children were taken from their families and resettled, and most suffered physical, sexual, and psychological abuse from priests, nuns, and other teachers. Some children were subject to medical experiments.
The Canadian government established the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 2010 to investigate these abuses, and in an official apology, the government acknowledged the harm inflicted on thousands of children who lost their lives as a result of hunger, cold, and disease.
The Pulitzer Prize is awarded for excellence in 21 categories of journalism. It is regarded as the world’s most prestigious media award and is a highly sought-after recognition for journalists worldwide. Walker and his team were commended for their brave work in reporting stories that have, for too long, remained untold.