Truth Before Reconciliation

Apr. 8, 2024 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM
Cargill Theatre, Jeanne & Peter Lougheed Performing Arts Centre & Online

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Connie Walker, Okanese First Nation, has been at the forefront of covering Indigenous stories for over 20 years. Her award-winning investigations into the crisis of violence in Indigenous communities and the legacy of residential schools have helped audiences make the connections required to better understand the truth of our colonial history. Connie's powerful presentation draws on her Pulitzer and Peabody award-winning podcast, Stolen to help audiences understand why it’s crucial to uncover the truth before we can begin to talk about meaningful reconciliation. This presentation will focus on Stolen: Surviving St. Michael's.

Listen to Stolen: Surviving St. Michael's on Spotify


Photo of Connie Walker

Connie Walker (Cree) is a Pulitzer Prize and Peabody Award-winning investigative journalist and host of the acclaimed podcast “Stolen” from Spotify Studios. Her work has exposed the crisis of violence in Indigenous communities and the devastating impacts of intergenerational trauma stemming from Indian Residential Schools in Canada and the U.S. 

Season one of Walker’s podcast, “Stolen: The Search for Jermain,” premiered in 2021 and investigated the case of a young Indigenous mother, Jermain Charlo, who went missing in 2018. The Pulitzer Prize and Peabody Award-winning second season, “Stolen: Surviving St. Michael’s,” premiered in 2022 and is one of the most comprehensive investigations into a single residential school. Walker and her team exposed systemic abuse that permeated the St. Michael’s Indian Residential School in Duck Lake, Saskatchewan for decades and preserved the testimonies of St. Michael’s survivors through a modern-day oral history project. Over the course of ten months of reporting, the “Stolen” team uncovered more than 200 allegations of sexual abuse against priests, nuns, and staff members.

In 2023, “Stolen: Surviving St. Michael’s” won a Pulitzer Prize in the Audio Reporting Category and a Peabody Award in the Podcast and Radio Category, becoming the first podcast to win both awards in the same year. Also in 2023, the podcast won an Edward R. Murrow Award, an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Award, a National Magazine Award (Ellie) in Podcasting from the American Society of Magazine Editors, an Adweek Audio Award for Best True Crime Podcast, and an honorable mention from the Dart Awards for Excellence in Coverage of Trauma. In 2022, “Stolen: Surviving St. Michael’s” won the IDA Award for Best Multi-Part Audio Documentary or Series. The series was also named one of the best podcasts of the year by The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Esquire and Vulture.

The third season of “Stolen” will return this fall and focus on the subject Walker has dedicated most of her decades long investigative career to: missing and murdered indigenous women (MMIW). 

Prior to joining Gimlet Media in 2020, Walker spent nearly two decades as a reporter and host for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in Toronto. She co-created and led the public broadcaster’s Indigenous Unit in 2013 and was part of a team of reporters who built a database of unsolved cases of missing and murdered Indigenous women in 2016. The powerful digital project exposed the scope of violence against Indigenous women and girls but also illustrated the human toll behind the statistics. The digital project was recognized as a finalist of the Michener Award and was awarded the RTDNA’s Adrienne Clarkson Award. 

In 2016, as a Senior Reporter in the Investigative Unit, Walker launched the podcast “Missing & Murdered.” The gripping series subverted the popularity of the true crime genre to expose its audience to the systemic issues at the root of the violence facing Indigenous women and girls. “Who Killed Alberta Williams?” investigated new leads in the unsolved murder of a Gitxsan woman who was found along the Highway of Tears in Northern British Columbia and “Finding Cleo” retraced the steps of a Cree girl from Saskatchewan who was taken by child welfare authorities and died thousands of miles from her homeland.

In 2018, “Missing & Murdered: Finding Cleo” won the inaugural Best Serialized Story award at the Third Coast International Audio festival, the Canadian Journalism Foundation’s Jackman Award and a Canadian Screen Award. The podcast was also featured in Columbia Journalism Review, Rolling Stone, Teen Vogue, Chatelaine and was named one of the Best Podcasts of 2018 by Apple Canada. In 2019, Walker received the Ochberg Fellowship from The Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma at Columbia University. She also delivered the 38th Annual James M. Minifie Lecture in 2019 at the University of Regina.

Walker is a member of the Okanese First Nation in Saskatchewan. She lives with her family in Toronto.


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