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James Bartleman Award Recognizes Indigenous Students for their Creative Writing

ALEXANDRA TICHINOFF, Office of the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario

Ontario is honouring six talented Indigenous students with the James Bartleman Indigenous Youth Creative Writing Award. The 2018 and 2019 award recipients are being recognized for writing remarkable stories which illustrate powerful and personal accounts of their unique perspectives and challenges, helping to promote literacy among Indigenous youth.

“On behalf of the people of Ontario, I offer my gratitude and congratulations to the 2018 and 2019 recipients. Your skill at expressing vulnerability and building empathy act as a beacon for us all, on the long and necessary path towards reconciliation and healing. My thanks also to my predecessor, the Honourable James Bartleman, the founder of these awards and a true visionary.” said The Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario.

The Lieutenant Governor of Ontario was joined virtually, on June 4th, by Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries, to present the awards.

“These young writers are representative of the important contributions Indigenous writers make to Ontario’s cultural landscape,” said Minister MacLeod. “I offer my sincere congratulations to all of the award recipients and encourage them to continue to share their unique stories with Ontarians across our province.”

The recipients are: Mya Dixon from Sandy Lake First Nation, in the Senior Fly-In category; Mikaela Allen from Newmarket, in the Junior Off-Reserve category; Ariel Wendling from Port Colborne, in the Senior Off-Reserve category; Kaylem Daybutch from Mississauga First Nation, in the Senior On-Reserve category; Pearson Meeseetawageesic from Eabamet Lake, in the Junior Fly-In category; and Denyce Sandy from Kenora, in the Junior On-Reserve category.

The award was established in 2008 to honour the legacy of James Bartleman, as the province’s 27th Lieutenant Governor and the first Indigenous person to be appointed to the role. It recognizes his efforts and contributions to promote literacy among Indigenous youth; including, organizing book drives for underprivileged communities.

The Honourable James K. Bartleman, former Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, made the following comment, “Each year, I am inspired by the powerful submissions put forward by young Indigenous writers from across the province. These six recipients have bravely shared their stories with us, exemplifying courage and strength. Their unique perspectives are essential to improving the understanding of Indigenous communities in Ontario.”

An independent selection committee chose the recipients in recognition of their excellent creative writing talent. All the members of the committee are from Indigenous communities.

The annual award recognizes Indigenous students for their creative writing talent in three geographic categories: the fly-in, on reserve and off-reserve communities. Recipients must be enrolled at an Ontario school, to be eligible. Winners will receive a one-time award of $2,500.

Interested students may apply for the James Bartleman award by mail or online. This year, the deadline has been extended to June 30th.

“Congratulations to all the award recipients on their remarkable achievement. These awards not only recognize their hard work and commitment to excellence; they also provide an important opportunity for the voices of Indigenous youth to shine through and be heard,” stated Greg Rickford, Minister of Indigenous Affairs.

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