PRESS RELEASE – Indigenous Voices Awards 

The Indigenous Voices Awards and Indigenous Literary Studies Association (ILSA) are excited to announce the official launch of the 2018-19 Indigenous Voices Awards (IVAs) and to invite submissions to this year’s competition. From humble beginnings in the Spring of 2017 in response to #AppropriationPrize controversy, the IVAs have become a celebration of Indigenous writing.

 The Indigenous Voices Awards are accepting submissions through its online portal for the following categories: 

Unpublished Literary Art by Emerging Writers

·      $2000 Most Significant Work of Unpublished Prose in English by an Emerging Indigenous Writer

·      $2000 Most Significant Work of Unpublished Poetry in English by an Emerging Indigenous Writer

·      $2000 Most Significant Work Published/Unpublished in an Indigenous Language by an Emerging Indigenous Writer

·      $2000 Most Significant Unpublished Literary Work in French in any Genre by an Emerging Indigenous Writer

·      $2000 Most Significant Work in an Alternative Format by an Emerging Indigenous Writer

Published Literary Art by Emerging Writers

·      $2000 Most Significant Work of Published Prose in English by an Emerging Indigenous Writer

·      $2000 Most Significant Work of Published Poetry in English by an Emerging Indigenous Writer

·      $2000 Most Significant Published Literary Work in French in any Genre by an Emerging Indigenous Writer

·      $2000 Most Significant Work of Drama or in an Alternative Format by an Emerging Indigenous Writer


Judges for this year’s awards include Jeannette Armstrong, Warren Cariou, Margery Fee, Gabriele L’Hirondelle Hill, Francis Langevin, and Jean Sioui.


·      Requests for interviews with any of these individuals, with this year’s esteemed jurors (whose credentials are listed below), finalists from last year’s IVAs, and with members of the ILSA executive can be made to Deanna Reder at

Information about the Indigenous Voices Awards –


The IVAs support Indigenous literary expression in its diversity and complexity, honouring the sovereignty of Indigenous creative voices while rejecting cultural appropriation.

Acclaimed jurors include Indigenous writers Jeannette Armstong, Warren Cariou, Gabrielle L’Hirondelle Hill, and Jean Sioui, as well as important figures in the Canadian literature scene, Margery Fee and Francis Langevin.

Deadline for submission to the IVAs will be March 1, 2019.

Announcement of the winners will take place on June 4, 2019 in Vancouver, on unceded xʷməθkʷəy̓əm, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, and səl̓ilwətaɁɬ Lands.

Information can be found at

Donations to the IVAs can still be made at


About ILSA

The Indigenous Literary Studies Association was created in 2013 to address the need for a scholarly body based in lands claimed by Canada that focuses specifically on the study and teaching of Indigenous peoples’ literatures. The association’s guiding purpose is to honour the history and promote the ongoing production of Indigenous literatures in all forms; to advance the ethical and vigorous study and teaching of those literatures; to reaffirm the value of Indigenous knowledges and methodologies within literary expression and study; to foster respectful relationships within and between academic and non-academic communities; to facilitate mentorship and professional development; and to advocate for responsible institutional transformation.

2018 IVAs Jurors


Jeannette Armstrong is one of the most influential and renowned Indigenous writers in Canada. Poet, novelist, teacher, and artist, she was born and raised on the Penticton Indian Reserve, one of eight Syilx (Okanagan) reserves located in both Canada and the United States. She is a fluent speaker of the Syilx language, Nsyilxcn, and is a knowledge keeper of plant medicines, Syilx traditions, and cultural protocols. She is also a strong voice in Indigenous environmental ethics. In 1985, Armstrong published her first novel, Slash – a story about a young Okanagan man finding his culture after a life of racism and violence. In the same year, she became the executive director of the En’owkin Centre, and in 1989 she helped found the En’owkin School of International Writing, the first credit-giving creative writing program in Canada managed solely by and for Indigenous people. In 1990, Armstrong published a book of poetry titled Breath Tracks. She published her second novel, Whispering in Shadows, in 2000 – a story about an Okanagan woman navigating her cultural knowledges through colonial surroundings while also engaging in environmental activism across the continent. In 2013 she was appointed a Canada Research Chair in Okanagan Indigenous Philosophy to research, document, categorize and analyze Okanagan Syilx oral literature in Nsyilxcn.


Warren Cariou was born in Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan into a family of Métis and European heritage.  Though he has lived away from Meadow Lake for many years, his art and academic work maintains a focus on the cultural and environmental questions that have preoccupied the people of his homeland.  His books, films, photography and scholarly research explore themes of community, environment, orality and belonging in the Canadian west, with particular focus on the relationships between Indigenous people and non-Native people. Cariou’s books The Exalted Company of Roadside Martyrs and Lake of the Prairies:  A Story of Belonging have won and been nominated for numerous awards, including the Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Nonfiction and the Drainie-Taylor Prize for biography.  He has also co-directed and co-produced two films about Aboriginal people in western Canada’s oil sands region:  Overburden and Land of Oil and Water.  In 2014 he began a photographic practice called Petrography, in which he creates images using bitumen gathered from the Athabasca tar sands region near his home town. Warren Cariou teaches in the Department of English, Film and Theatre and directs the Centre for Creative Writing and Oral Culture.


Margery Fee is Professor Emerita of English at the University of British Columbia. Her most recent books are Literary Land Claims: The “Indian Land Question” from Pontiac’s War to Attawapiskat (Wilfrid Laurier UP, 2015) and edited with Dory Nason, Tekahionwake:  E. Pauline Johnson’s Writings on Native North America (Broadview, 2016).


Gabrielle L’Hirondelle Hill is a Metis artist and writer from Vancouver, BC, located on unceded Musqueam, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, and Tsleil-Waututh territory. Hill’s sculptures and installations perform as both a material exploration of color and form and an enquiry into concepts of land, property, and economy. Her work has been exhibited at the Polygon Gallery, the Morris and Helen Belkin Gallery, Sunset Terrace, and Gallery Gachet in Vancouver; SBC galerie d’art contemporain in Montreal; STRIDE gallery in Calgary; SOMArts in San Francisco; and Get This! Gallery in Atlanta, Georgia.


Francis Langevin vit et travaille en territoire syilx à la Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies de l’Université de la Colombie-Britannique (Okanagan). Il enseigne le français et la littérature en milieu francophone minoritaire depuis 2010. Spécialiste du roman contemporain, il s’intéresse au rapport entre le style et les valeurs, de même qu’aux représentations de la régionalité dans les fictions québécoises et françaises d’aujourd’hui. Sur ces sujets, il a fait paraître des articles et codirigé des numéros thématiques dans les revues Voix et images, Tangence, Spirale, Contre-jour, @nalyses , temps zéro (2013 et 2014) et Arborescences.


Jean Sioui (Wendat), né en 1948, est Wendat (Huron). Marié, il est père de trois enfants. Il a habité Wendake (Québec) pendant 32 ans avant de s’installer pour les 15 années suivantes, sur une ferme à Saint-Henri de Lévis.  Revenu à Wendake à l’âge de 50 ans, il a complété des certificats en études autochtones et en création littéraire à l’Université Laval. Il a publié son premier recueil Le Pas de l’Indien aux éditions Le Loup de Gouttière en 1997. Il est co-fondateur du Cercle d’écriture de Wendake, animateur d’ateliers de poésie au CDFM (Centre de développement de la formation et de la main-d’œuvre huron-wendat), formateur au Banff Center pour le Conseil des Arts du Canada dans le cadre du programme Écrivains autochtones en début de carrière, consultant et rédacteur du manuel de formation pour intervenants en milieu autochtone au Conseil de la santé et des services sociaux des Premières Nations du Québec et du Labrador.

  Finalists for the 2017-18 Indigenous Voices Awards:

 • Most Significant Work of Prose in English by an Emerging Indigenous Writer

·      Carleigh Baker

·      Dawn Dumont

·      Aviaq Johnston (Ottawa)

·      Joanne Robertson


 Most Significant Work of Prose in French by an Emerging Indigenous Writer

·      Naomi Fontaine

·      J. D. Kurtness


Best Unpublished Poetic Piece in French

·      Marie-Andrée Gill


Most Significant Work in an Alternative Format by an Emerging Indigenous Writer

·      Keith Barker

·      Cliff Cardinal

·      Mich Cota

·      Mika Lafond


Most Significant Work of Poetry in English by an Emerging Indigenous Writer

·      Billy-Ray Belcourt (Edmonton)

·      Tenille K. Campbell

·      Joshua Whitehead (Calgary)


Unpublished Poetic Piece(s) by an Emerging Indigenous Writer

·      David Agecoutay

·       Brandi Bird

·      Francine Merasty

·      Smokii Sumac


Unpublished Prose Piece by an Emerging Indigenous Writer

·      Treena Chambers (Vancouver

·      Elaine McArthur (Regina)

·      Nazbah Tom

·      Amanda Peters (Falmouth NS)