Stories hold the incredible power to heal wounds, connect people, and bridge generations. We believe that this is an incredibly important time to be centering Indigenous stories, to be actively engaging with our communities, and to be shining the spotlight on the brilliance that exists in our diversity.
We hope that the Indigenous Brilliance reading series will reflect this belief. The series grew out of the shared desire of Massy Books owner Patricia Massy and Room Magazine editorial board members Jónína Kirton and Jessica Johns to raise the voices of Indigenous women, Two Spirit, and queer writers. This series is the result of different communities coming together with a shared vision of Indigenous resurgence: a resurgence that exists through the act of making space for ourselves and each other, through community building, and through the radical act of living and loving. We want to celebrate Indigenous stories, the different ways we think, share, and perform. We hope this series will allow us to come together to stand behind those voices while we’re standing with each other.
Special thanks to Amanda Hugon, the brilliant Sto:lo Nation artist who created the strong, two-spirited warrior mask for our series, which acts as a physical reminder of our vision. Thank you to Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, who said that Indigenous peoples writing “looks different than CanLit and that’s a beautiful thing, because our brilliance is coming from a different place,” which prompted the inspiration for the reading series’ name. And thank you to our friends and allies at Room Magazine, who are standing behind us and helping us make this series possible.
The Indigenous Brilliance reading series will be held at Massy Books, located at 229 E Georgia St, by owner Patricia Massy. Patricia is of Cree and English descent and a member of the As'in'i'wa'chi Ni'yaw Nation (Kelly Lake Cree Nation). It is with great respect and gratitude that we hold this reading series on the tradition, ancestral, and unceded territory of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh peoples.
“I wanted to hear stories by Indigenous voices, and I think the general public really desires to as well. This reading series will fulfill a great need to hear from the Indigenous literary community, and give them the spotlighted platform they deserve.”
The series will be hosted by Jónína Kirton and Jessica Johns. Jónína is a Métis/Icelandic poet, author & facilitator who was born in Treaty 1 and currently lives on unceded Musqueam, Sḵwxwú7mesh, and Tsleil-Waututh land. A descendant of French, Scottish and English fur-traders, her Indigenous ancestry includes Swampy Cree, Ojibwe, Assiniboine, Nakota and Sekani. Jessica is of Cree ancestry and a member of Sucker Creek First Nation located in Treaty 8 territory in Northern Alberta.
“Like many urban Indigenous, I am not in my homeland and I had a desire to create more community for myself and other Indigenous writers in Vancouver. This reading series is a way to bring us all together and for me to give thanks for all the support I have received as writer.”—Jónína
“To me, this series is about communities coming together and continuing to do what Indigenous peoples have been doing all over the land for many, many years, and that is working together to connect with and support one another.” —Jessica
We are currently accepting applications for three upcoming Indigenous Brilliance readings in 2018.
"The Spirit Within"
Alder, horse hair, Abalone, Acrylic, copper wire.
11” L x 9” W x 6 ¼”D
Strength is portrayed in this two-spirited mask. She is a warrior. Her spirit is represented on the forehead, and serves as a reminder of the journey she has taken to get where she is today. She has some scars and natural defects, but her beauty and strength shine through. The abalone inlay represents pride and a high ranking woman in society. Her earrings, a symbol of wealth and identity.
Photo credit: Jessie Lane Kirton