Alaska Highway history book awarded for educating readers about region’s heritage

A book to accompany travellers as they drive the Alaska Highway has won a national award in a competition that recognizes professional excellence in heritage conservation.

The 2018 book Signposts & Promises: Canada and the Alaska Highway was honoured Thursday by the Canadian Association of Heritage Professionals through its 2020 Annual Awards program. The awards celebrate preservation, restoration and conservation work in areas including archaeology, architecture, engineering, craftsmanship, education and planning.

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“We are thrilled to congratulate the people behind this year’s award-winning projects,” said Elijah Karlo Sabadlan, co-chair of the awards committee.

“These awards showcase the outstanding heritage conservation work that is happening across Canada, promote the importance of protecting our historic sites, and introduce the public to these places that they may not be able to visit as a result of the pandemic.”

Signposts & Promises, published by the Fort St. John North Peace Museum, won the Award of Excellence in the Heritage Education, Awareness and Scholarship category.

The book highlights the region’s people, significant sites, important industries, the story of the road building project and the history of the road’s military use, including the 3,700 African American soldiers who helped construct bridges along the highway during the Second World War.

Author Julie Harris was recognized for how the book strengthened the understanding of historic places and highlighted significant cultural landscapes, and how it “acknowledge and respect Indigenous experiences and allow Indigenous voices to tell their own story,” the awards jury noted.

Harris co-wrote the book with Frank B. Edwards, with photography from Richard Hartmier, Chris Gale and Minnie Clarke, among others. 

Read an excerpt of Signposts and Promises below:

Excerpt - Signposts & Promises: Canada and the Alaska Highway by AlaskaHighwayNews on Scribd

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