On behalf of the Indigenous Literary Studies Association (ILSA) we want to thank you for your generous donation and contribution to the Indigenous Voice Awards. We are grateful for all your support, as you have gone above and beyond helping us surpass our initial goal by more than $100,000.00! This much needed money has gone into a Trust Fund with the Ontario Arts Foundation and will be used for the awards themselves in addition to mentorship, professionalization, and creative collaboration among applicants, jurors, and other members of the Indigenous artistic community. Not only is the dollar amount that you have helped us raise important, but so is the number of you who have donated. You have given each of our writers the knowledge that, in addition to our judges, there are 1,573 people who believe in them and are willing to back their writing. This contribution of faith is invaluable. We thank you for your gift of time, money, and love.
Our inaugural gala was held on Tuesday May 29th in Regina, Saskatchewan (original place name Wascana or oskana kâ-asastêki) as part of the Indigenous Literary Studies Association 4th Annual Gathering. Because of your donations we were pleased to award $25,000 in prizes to eight emerging Indigenous writers from across these lands claimed by Canada. For the inaugural year we had the privilege of having judges Shelagh Rogers, Kateri Akiwenzie-Damm (Anishinaabe), Rodney Saint-Eloi, Gregory Scofield (Métis), Richard Van Camp (Tlicho Dene), Virginia Pésémapéo Bordeleau and Jean Sioui.
For the first year, our first awards, we focused solely on emerging writers but in the future, the Indigenous Voices Awards (IVAs) will be offering two yearly awards, for emerging writers and established writers respectively. We will also be working on expanding the categories.
We would like to acknowledge the particular contributions made by Robin Parker and Silvia Moreno-Garcia who each began Go Fund Me campaigns which provided the basis for these awards.
Robin Parker is a criminal and human rights lawyer, law professor, mother, avid reader, lover of the arts and free expression. She is a graduate of the University of Toronto, Dalhousie University and the University of Oxford. You can find her on Twitter @robinparker_plg.
Silvia Moreno-Garcia is the critically-acclaimed author of Signal to Noise—winner of a Copper Cylinder Award, finalist of the British Fantasy, Locus, Sunburst and Aurora awards—and Certain Dark Things, selected as one of NPR’s best books of 2016. The Beautiful Ones, a novel of manners with a speculative element, is her third book. She won a World Fantasy Award for her work as an editor. Silvia raised funds for Emerging Indigenous Writers and donated them to the Indiegogo crowd-funding campaign.