Ossie Michelin of North West River had a photo he took during the Muskrat Falls demonstrations in 2016 and a photo he took in New Brunswick in 2013 at an anti-fracking blockade chosen for the exhibit.
“They were taken three years and three days apart and are both photos of indigenous women defending their water,” Michelin told the Labradorian. “It's telling the Canadian Museum of Human Rights recognizes that these two women are defending their human rights. They're standing up to human rights not just for themselves but for the future.”
Michelin has known they were selected of the last few months and said he’s really excited to be able to tell people finally. He said he was thrilled when he found out.
“First, I got an email saying that selected one of my pictures. And I thought ‘Oh, that's great!’ Then less than five minutes later I got another email saying they picked a second one of my pictures. I was just ecstatic.”
The museum, located in Winnipeg, launched the contest in 2016 to find photo’s for its ‘Points of View’ exhibit, as part of the Canada 150 celebrations. The photos had to follow one of four themes; diversity and inclusion; the environment; reconciliation; and freedom of expression. They received 984 entries and selected 70. One photograph that best captured the theme in each category was chosen, as well as an outstanding image by a youth photographer. One photo was also chosen at the best overall image submitted. These awards will be announced during the official opening on June 23.
This isn’t the first time Michelin has been noticed for his photography skills and the 2013 picture in particular has received a lot of attention.
“It's just really nice to have this one recognized as officially being part of Canadian history,” he said. “I think it is part of Canadian history. This exhibit is part of Canada 150 and I think it's important, really important, for Canada 150 to represent everything. We don't want to always just look back at the good stuff, then you're missing a whole lot. If we only look back at the good we’ll never learn.”