Young Indigenous writers and artists celebrated at national ceremony

Historica Canada

Back row: Maxine Noel (Arts Juror), John Kim Bell (Arts juror and MC), Anthony Wilson Smith (President, Historica Canada), Brian Maracle (writing juror), Eric Prud’Homme (Enbridge)
Front Row (our contest winners): Cyan-Raven Gielewska, Megan Benoit, Kecia Cook, Joshua Whitehead

HAMILTON, ON (June 15, 2016) – Indigenous leaders, youth, authors, artists and members from local communities gathered at the Art Gallery of Hamilton on Wednesday, June 15, to honour the winners of Historica Canada’s annual Aboriginal Arts & Stories contest.

Winners were selected from more than 650 submissions from across Canada. First place in the Junior Writing category was awarded to Cyan-Raven Gielewska (14) of Kitchener, ON, for her piece “I Remember.” The winner of the Senior Writing category is Joshua Whitehead (26) of Calgary, AB, for his piece “Mihkokwaniy”. David Anauta (11) of Akulivik, QC, was awarded the Enbridge Emerging Writer prize for his illustrated story The Qallupilluit Boy. First place junior and senior arts awards were given to Megan Benoit (17) of Surrey, BC, for her piece Medicinal Healing and Kecia Cook (23) of Regina, SK, for her piece Maskihkiwiwat. Kane Pendry (13) of Edmonton, AB, was awarded the Enbridge Emerging Artist prize for his piece titled Wisdom in the Mist. The first place junior and senior category winners will also be honoured at the Governor General’s History Awards taking place in Ottawa in October.

Hosted by John Kim Bell – composer and community leader – the reception was attended by esteemed writers and artists from the Aboriginal Arts & Stories jury, including Drew Hayden Taylor, Lee Maracle, Brian Maracle and Maxine Noel. The event also featured an exhibition of winning work and a special performance by Mino Ode Kwewak N'Gamowak, the Good Hearted Women Singers

“As Indigenous peoples and other Canadians seek to transform their relationship, the submissions from young Indigenous artists and storytellers provide a unique insight into the perceptions, and past and present realities of their peoples,” said Anthony Wilson-Smith, President and CEO of Historica Canada. “They give new appreciation and understanding of the heritage and culture of their ancestors and communities.”

“Enbridge is proud of our ongoing partnership with Historica Canada, and their continued leadership in nurturing Aboriginal artists and their stories,” said Eric Prud’Homme, Senior Manager, Public Affairs & Communications, Enbridge. “Enbridge is committed to creating thriving communities that offer opportunities for citizens to be enriched by cultural experiences. And the Aboriginal Arts & Stories Awards provides greater insight into the history, art and culture of Canada’s First Nations, Metis and Inuit communities. The Awards showcase these communities’ talented young artists—artists who then challenge us to open our minds and our hearts to differing perspectives.”

Aboriginal Arts & Stories invites First Nations, Métis and Inuit artists (ages 9-29) to interpret an aspect of their culture and heritage through literary and visual arts for a chance to earn prizes and national recognition. A jury of accomplished Aboriginal authors, artists, and community leaders select the winning submissions.

Presented by Enbridge Inc., supporting sponsors include Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, TD Bank, Canada’s History, and Aboriginal Link.

Historica Canada is the country’s largest organization dedicated to enhancing awareness of Canada’s history and citizenship.

For more information:
Rebecca Benson
Program Coordinator
1.866.701.1867 x 247
613-893-6333
rbenson@HistoricaCanada.ca

Andrea Hall
Communications Coordinator
1.866.701.1867 x 261
ahall@historicacanada.ca