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Volume 36, Number 1 (2011)

"We’re writing our own stories": An Examination of Youth Writing in Our Story: The Canadian Aboriginal Writing Challenge

September 14, 2011


The Historica-Dominion Institute’s Our Story: The Canadian Aboriginal Writing Challenge is a contest that provides an online forum for young Indigenous writers. Winning stories by Julie-Dean Chartrand, Trevor Jang, and Maynan Robinson, all under the age of eighteen, model the form of integration that Kanien’kehaka scholar Taiaiake Alfred envisions, with youth first becoming embedded in their traditions and cultures, and then using their knowledges as a foundation for leadership and social engagement. The authors’ resistance to colonialism is especially poignant given that their writing appears within the Western framework of the Historica-Dominion Institute, an organization that privileges Canadian citizenship over tribal identities and celebrates a singular history of the Canadian nation. In addition to creating an intergenerational dialogue and sharing crucial experiences with the Canadian public, these stories suggest that it is time to engage with young people, a frequently overlooked literary community.