TORONTO – Six young indigenous writers from across Canada were honoured for their writing with the James Bartleman Aboriginal Youth Creative Writing Award on Monday, October 26 within Queen’s Park.
Leera Beardy wrote an essay involving living in Ontario’s North, Emily Mandamin wrote a poem about missing her mother, Rachel Otis wrote a poem about the true meaning of home, Catherine Porte wrote a short story about a girl uncovering her indigenous heritage in a surprising way, Justice Ryan drew a comic about a girls escape from residential school, and Six Nations’ own Darienne Martin wrote a poem expressing her love for her culture.
The Awards were presented by several distinguished people including the Honourable James Bartleman who was the 27th Lieutenant Governor of Ontario.
“I’m thrilled to see these talented young writers recognized today. They each have a story to tell that was shaped by their culture and community,” said Bartleman. “Their ability to connect with us and share those stories through poetry and prose is exciting and inspiring,” he said.
Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, the Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell hopes the writers will continue to pursue writing.
“Each of these young writers has a unique perspective and compelling voice,” said Dowdeswell. “They all are wonderful examples of the diversity and richness of experience that is so essential to the cultural fabric of Ontario. I encourage each of the winners to continue sharing their stories,” she said.
The Honourable Michael Chan and the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and International Trade explained that he hopes the award inspires the winners.
“The Bartleman Awards present an excellent opportunity for young Aboriginal writers to be recognized for their literary talents,” said Chan. “I hope this recognition inspires them to keep writing and expressing themselves through their words,” he said.
As James Bartleman was the first Indigenous Lieutenant Governor; the award was set to inspire indigenous students to pursue literacy and to help motivate expression through writing. The award itself is given to up to six indigenous writers, with a cash award of $2,500. The award has two age categories; both junior (up to 12 years of age), and Senior (13-18 years of age), and is open to any indigenous writer within the age limits.