By Arts Editor Brendan Barlow
On Tuesday, November 22, Vancouver Island University will host a book launch event for In Our Own Aboriginal Voice, an anthology of both Aboriginal writers and artists from all over British Columbia. This launch will not only feature copies of the book available for sale, but also readings from a number of the contributing authors including Michael Calvert, Maryann Dick, Kevin Henry, Darlene McIntosh, Natalia Auger Nybida, Ry-Lee Pearson, Spencer Sheehan-Kalina, Kirsten Sam, Kris Skinner, and Joe Starr.
Contributing author Spencer Sheehan-Kalina wrote a poem which is “a creative response to an explorative project of [his] Métis heritage and ancestry.” He submitted this piece to a writing contest which aimed to recruit Aboriginal author from BC for the anthology, and he won second place. Sheehan-Kalina said he feels “very blessed and honoured to have the opportunity to share some of [his] poems.” When asked about the importance of the book and why people should seek out these perspectives, Sheehan-Kalina said, “I feel like people need to read this book because it offers a chance for readers to experience and connect with Aboriginal culture, in one capacity or another. The benefits of having [this variety of voices are] tremendous, for both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people, but are so many that it’s a conversation in and of itself.”
Speaking more to the importance of In Our Own Aboriginal Voice, this, the owner of Strong Nations Publishing House, Terri Mack said, “The time for our own stories has arrived, our own written words, our own voices. It is through our stories that we discover our roots. They feed us. They make us strong.” Further to this point, Sheehan-Kalina also said, “When we all stand together we’re stronger than when we stand apart. I hope this anthology facilitates much healing, understanding and a sense of hope for greater tomorrows.”
In Our Own Aboriginal Voice will be launched on November 22 at Shq’apthut: A Gathering Place (bldg. 170) at VIU. This free event begins at 6:00 pm, and runs until 7:30 pm. Refreshments and snacks will be provided. For more information on the book, visit inourownvoice.com.
Brendan is a horror-loving, left-leaning, feminist presently studying at Vancouver Island University in the Bachelor of Social Work Program. He has been a lover of all things arts and entertainment for as long as he can remember, with a particular fondness for horror films and other spooky media. He lives in Nanaimo with his partner Melissa, and their cat Adler.