Ontario Honouring Young Indigenous Writers

Twelve Indigenous students receive the James Bartleman award for creative writing

July 15, 2023

Citizenship and Multiculturalism

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THUNDER BAY — The Ontario government is honouring 12 young writers with the James Bartleman Indigenous Youth Creative Writing Award.

The award was established in 2008 to honour the legacy of James Bartleman, the province’s 27th Lieutenant Governor and the first Indigenous person appointed to the role in Ontario. It celebrates the creative talents of Indigenous youth and encourages them to share their perspectives and experiences through storytelling.

“This award recognizes the efforts of James Bartleman in promoting literacy among Indigenous youth and celebrates brave and inspiring voices,” said the Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell. Lieutenant Governor of Ontario. “This work deepens the province’s collective understanding and appreciation of Indigenous cultures, and ongoing relationships with Indigenous leaders and communities.”

The annual award honours Indigenous junior (12 years old and younger) and senior (13 to 18 years old) students enrolled at an Ontario school for their creative writing talent in three geographic categories: fly-in community, on reserve and off reserve.

The recipients of the James Bartleman Indigenous Youth Creative Writing Award for the years 2020, 2021 and 2022 are:


  • Kaidyn Bailey (Utterson) ─ Junior Off-Reserve ─ When the Winter Comes (story)
  • Sophie Langlois (London) ─ Senior Off-Reserve ─ Kindred Spirits (poem)


  • Keilyn Linklater (Attawapiskat) ─ Junior Fly-In ─ Spring 2021 (poem)
  • Tish Tookate (Attawapiskat) ─ Senior Fly-In ─ untitled (poem)
  • Kentley Gardner (Thunder Bay) ─ Junior Off-Reserve ─ Take Me Home (poem)
  • Emily Peltier (London) ─ Senior Off-Reserve ─ untitled (story)
  • Farah Garlow (Ohsweken) ─ Junior On-Reserve ─ My Strong Family (story)
  • Asia Nahdee-Wagner (Walpole Island First Nation) ─ Senior On-Reserve ─ Self Love: Kindness Through the Eyes of an Anishinaabekwe (poem)


  • Avery Stewart (Kanata) ─ Junior Off-Reserve ─ Our Culture (poem)
  • Evie Gideon (Ottawa) ─ Senior Off-Reserve ─ The Long Way Home (story)
  • Rowyn Kasunich (M’Chigeeng) ─ Junior On-Reserve ─ The Chandelier (story)
  • Mackenzie Jaymes Simon (Sheguiandah) ─ Senior On-Reserve ─ I See a Boy (story)

“I offer my sincere congratulations to these remarkable young writers for bravely and courageously sharing their stories,” said Michael Ford, Minister of Citizenship and Multiculturalism. “As we continue to work towards meaningful reconciliation, their talent and creativity help us understand and appreciate the journeys, experiences and cultures of Indigenous youth.”

“It’s my privilege to recognize these talented young Indigenous writers and amplify their powerful voices,” said the Honourable James K. Bartleman. “Their creative submissions not only exemplify their courage, strength and unique perspectives, they help to celebrate Indigenous communities in Ontario.”

The recipients of the award are chosen by an independent selection committee of members from Indigenous communities. Recipients receive a citation and a one-time award of $2,500.

“As Minister of Indigenous Affairs, I’d like to congratulate these young talented Indigenous writers for their work that led them to being the recipients of the James Bartleman Indigenous Youth Creative Writing Award,” said Greg Rickford, Minister of Indigenous Affairs and Minister of Northern Development. “Amplifying Indigenous literary works encourages all Ontarians to experience the unique and rich culture of First Nations across the province, and I encourage readers of all ages to explore these outstanding pieces of writing.”

Interested students may apply for the James Bartleman Indigenous Youth Creative Writing Award online.

Additional Resources

Learn more about the James Bartleman Indigenous Youth Creative Writing Award.