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Last Modified: December 6, 2023
5 Local Indigenous Writers You Should Know

As the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation approaches on September 30, here are some local writers and artists who are amplifying the stories of Indigenous peoples.

By Travis Klemp

The lands that make up Treaty 6, 7, and 8 in Alberta are filled with gifted Indigenous storytellers and journalists. They share truths both difficult and uplifting. They elevate Indigenous voices and remind readers of the essential need to pay attention to the systemic issues affecting Indigenous communities. In the lead-up to National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, observed on September 30, here are five local writers and artists you should know.

Stephanie Joe

Read Remembering Amy Willier in Avenue 

Stephanie Joe, an award-winning Indigenous writer and journalist from Champagne and Aishihik First Nations, Yukon, is an exceptionally talented and respectful storyteller. Now living in Calgary on Treaty 7 territory, she elevates and celebrates Indigenous peoples in a way that honours those who choose to share. Joe is a fierce advocate for reconciliation and tells stories that not only bring to light challenges and barriers faced by Indigenous communities but also celebrate the endless amount of successes that Indigenous peoples achieve throughout the province and beyond. Joe has written for Avenue, WestJet Magazine, Leap, Dementia Connections, Windspeaker and more, and in 2020, she was awarded silver in Alberta Magazine Publishers Association’s Emerging Writer category for her story Full Circle featured in Avenue.

Brandi Morin

Brandi Morin is an award-winning Cree/Iroquois/French multimedia journalist from Treaty 6 territory in Alberta. For the last 10 years, Morin has been a leader in sharing Indigenous stories in a clear and empathetic way. Many of her stories focus on Indigenous oppression in North America. Morin’s work has been published widely in many formats for the likes of National Geographic, Rolling Stone, The Guardian, Al Jazeera English, NBC THINK, CNN, VICE, ELLE Canada, the Toronto Star, The New York Times, Canadaland, HuffPost, Indian Country Today Media Network, the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network National News, and CBC Indigenous. In 2019, she won a Human Rights Reporting award from the Canadian Association of Journalists for her work tracking the progress of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action with the CBC’s Beyond 94 project. Morin recently won the 2023 Digital Publishing Awards Best Feature Article (Long) for her piece The last of the untamed: Wedzin Kwa and the Wet’suwet’en fight to save her in Ricochet Media.

Richard Van Camp

Richard Van Camp is a proud Tłı̨chǫ Dene from Fort Smith, NWT. Van Camp is the author of 27 books, published in the last 27 years, the most well-known of which is his 1996 novel The Lesser Blessed, which was adapted into a film in 2012. In the past several years, Van Camp has been the Storyteller-in-Residence for the Calgary Public Library (which you can read about in Meet Richard Van Camp, the Calgary Public Library’s First Storyteller in Residence for Avenue) and has also served as the Writer-in-Residence at the University of Alberta, Yellowhead Tribal College, MacEwan University and the University of the Fraser Valley.

Conor Kerr

Read Kerr’s Book Review of Buffalo is the New Buffalo in Alberta Views

Conor Kerr is a Métis-Ukrainian writer and member of the Métis Nation of Alberta, a  descendant of the Lac Ste. Anne Métis and the Papaschase Cree Nation, who also has connections to Treaty 4 and 6 territories in Saskatchewan. Kerr is well past the “up-and-comer” stage of his career as his incredible work has garnered a plethora of attention and awards, including The Fiddlehead’s Ralph Gustafson Poetry Prize which he received in 2020 and The Malahat Review’s Long Poem Prize which he was awarded in 2021. Kerr is the author of the poetry collection An Explosion of Feathers and his multi-award-winning novel, Avenue of Champions, was shortlisted for the Amazon First Novel Award, longlisted for the 2022 Scotiabank Giller Prize and the winner of a 2022 ReLit Award. Kerr’s poetry collection, Old Gods, published by Harbour Publishing, was released on April 29, 2023, and you can find his book reviews in Alberta Views magazine amongst others. 

Emily Riddle

Read Broken Up in Funicular Magazine

Emily Riddle is nehiyaw and a member of the Alexander First Nation in Treaty 6 territory. A writer, editor, policy analyst, language learner, and visual artist, she lives in amiskwaciwâskahikan (Edmonton). Currently, she is the Senior Advisor, Indigenous Relations for the Edmonton Public Library, but as a writer, Riddle’s work shows her commitment, belief, and love for the Prairies and the Indigenous peoples who have always called this land home. In 2019, Riddle was named Top 30 Under 30 by the Alberta Council for Global Cooperation. Their writing has appeared in The Globe and Mail, Teen Vogue, Vice and other publications. Riddle was also the winner of the Griffin Poetry Prize’s 2023 Canadian First Book Prize for their debut poetry collection, The Big Melt, published in 2022.