YT Government: Unique tutor-learner pair receive literacy award

by ahnationtalk on September 10, 201992 Views

Ted Ackerman, a tutor-volunteer with Yukon Learn, and Kwanlin Dün First Nation Elder Louie Smith are this year’s recipients of the Council of the Federation Literacy Award. Premier Sandy Silver presented the tutor-learner pair with the award today in recognition of their contributions to literacy in the territory and the preservation of First Nation language, stories and history.

Louie Smith, now 86, was raised in the bush speaking Southern and Northern Tutchone and learning stories and history from his father. English is his third language. For almost four years Ted Ackerman has employed innovative approaches and technology to help Louie, who is visually impaired, fulfill his lifelong dream of learning to read in English.

In the process, Louie has taught Ted about First Nations culture as well as some Southern Tutchone. Together, with the permission of the Kwanlin Dün First Nation, they have preserved over 100 items of history and stories to contribute to the body of Yukon First Nations language revitalization and preservation work.

Ted and Louie have also become friends who share a strong passion for lifelong learning. They continue to meet for “school” twice a week at the Kwanlin Dün Kenädän Ku House of Learning.

It is my honour to recognize Ted Ackerman and Louie Smith for their contributions to literacy and Yukon First Nations language revitalization and preservation. Mr. Ackerman and Mr. Smith are leading by example when it comes to lifelong learning and sharing Yukon’s rich First Nations history and stories.

Premier Sandy Silver

Congratulations to Ted Ackerman and Louie Smith on receiving this prestigious award. They model the spirit of the new Yukon curriculum, which emphasizes lifelong learning and First Nations ways of knowing, doing and being. Their contribution to literacy will benefit future generations of Yukoners.

Minister of Education Tracy-Anne McPhee

Quick facts
  • The Council of the Federation Literacy Award was established in 2004 and is presented annually to recipients across the country. The award defines literacy broadly, including family, Aboriginal, health, workplace and community literacy. The award is given to recognize excellence of educators, volunteers and learners, outstanding achievements, innovative practices and excellence in literacy. Yukon began presenting the Literacy Award in 2005.
  • The Council of the Federation’s members are the Premiers of Canada’s 13 provinces and territories. It fosters a constructive relationship among the provinces and territories and with the federal government, to strengthen the Canadian federation.

Ted Ackerman and Louie Smith – Yukon’s 2019 Council of the Federation Literacy Award recipients

Kwanlin Dün Elder Louie Smith and Ted Ackerman are a unique tutor-learner pair. Through their relationship both have become tutors as well as learners. Age 86, Mr. Smith was raised on the land speaking Southern and Northern Tutchone. English is his third language. Mr. Ackerman volunteers as a tutor with Yukon Learn. He began working with Mr. Smith in November 2015, helping him fulfill his lifelong dream of learning to read. Through the process, Mr. Smith began teaching his tutor traditional stories and history. Mr. Ackerman has even picked up some Southern Tutchone. The pair meet twice a week at the Kwanlin Dün Kenädän Ku House of Learning. With permission of the First Nation, so far they have preserved well over 100  items of First Nation stories and history


Matthew Cameron
Cabinet Communications

Susie Ross
Communications, Education


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