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 and to be shining the spotlight on the brilliance that exists in our communities.
We hope that the Indigenous Brilliance 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 series will be held at Massy Books, located at 229 E Georgia St, by owner Patricia Massy. 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 people.
Patricia Massy is of Cree and English descent and a member of the As’in’i’wa’chi Ni’yaw Nation (Kelly Lake Cree Nation)
// Co-founder and co-curator
Jessica Johns is a nehiyaw aunty and member of Sucker Creek First Nation in Treaty 8 territory in Northern Alberta
jaye simpson is an Oji-Cree Trans Femme Two Spirit warrior & writer whose roots hail from the Sapotaweyak & Skownan Cree Nation, Treaty 2 & 4 Territory in Manitoba
Emily Dundas Oke is a grateful Cree, Métis, Scottish, and English visitor on the unceded and ancestral territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations
// Co-curator and organizer
Karmella Cen Benedito De Barros is an Afro-Indigiqueer Nehiyaw/Cafuzo, with Afro-Brazilian and Mistawasis Cree ancestry. Currently a Youth Counsellor, Multi-Media Artist and finishing up her BA in Counselling Psychology and Education at SFU; Karmella is motivated to expand the space within academia for decolonial world views, while prioritizing the support and uplifting of BIPOC communities through creative healing.
Many thanks to Jónína Kirton for co-hosting the first two events, and for first collaborating with Patricia Massy to make this series a reality. This series wouldn’t exist today without her love, dedication, and work. Jónína is a Métis/Icelandic poet, author & facilitator who was born in Treaty 1 and is a descendant of French, Scottish and English fur-traders, her Indigenous ancestry includes Swampy Cree, Ojibwe, Assiniboine, Nakota and Sekani.
We are currently accepting emails for our 2019 upcoming Indigenous Brilliance events for 2020.
“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