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Aboriginal youth receive first Bartleman Awards

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Aboriginal youth receive first Bartleman Awards

Young Poets, Storywriters Recognized

Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration

A 10-year old poet from a remote First Nation community will be among the six young writers to receive the first James Bartleman Aboriginal Youth Creative Writing Award.

The James Bartleman Aboriginal Youth Creative Writing Award gives Aboriginal youth an opportunity to showcase their writing abilities.  Some of the winning entries included writings about nature, family relationships, and misconceptions about Aboriginal people. 

The award recipients each receive $2,500 and a trip to the Canadian Aboriginal Festival in Toronto.

The recipients are:

  • Emily Big Canoe, age 17, from Georgina Island near Barrie
  • James Fisher, age 11, from Thunder Bay
  • Begiizhik Nahwegahbow, age 10, from Birch Island near Sudbury
  • Sarah Remus, age 12, from Bearskin Lake, a fly-in community in Northern Ontario
  • Cheyanne Sainnawap, age 14, from Wunnumin, a fly-in community in Northern Ontario
  • Dustin Sutherland, age 19, from Chelmsford near Sudbury.

The Honourable David C. Onley, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, and the Honourable James K. Bartleman, former Lieutenant Governor of Ontario will present the awards at a November 28 ceremony at Queen's Park.  Ontario's Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Michael Chan will read the citations.

Quick Facts

  • The Honourable James K. Bartleman was Ontario’s first Aboriginal Lieutenant Governor. During his term in office, March 2002 & September 2007, he implemented four literacy initiatives for Aboriginal youth across Ontario:
    1. Book drives that collected more than 2 million volumes to create libraries in fly-in First Nation communities
    2. Twinned more than 100 First Nation schools with non-Aboriginal schools in Ontario and Nunavut
    3. Established 36 summer reading camps in 28 fly-in First Nation communities
    4. Created ‘Club Amick’, a reading program where 5,000 youth receive a brand new book and newsletter five times a year.
  • Every year up to six Aboriginal students will receive this award for their creative writing talent. Creative pieces may include, but are not limited to, short stories, poems, essays, plays, or songs and must be original works created by the student.

Additional Resources


“Aboriginal youth across Ontario have submitted wonderful entries. They have a great desire to tell their stories and I’m delighted to celebrate their accomplishments.”

Honourable David C. Onley

Lieutenant Governor of Ontario

“The written word can be very powerful. It can evoke emotion and transport us to places we have never been before. It can also help our Aboriginal young people express their hopes and dreams.”

Honourable James K. Bartleman

“Young people are often the best storytellers because of the honesty of their writing. Our young writers have touched on a variety of universal themes with eloquence, humour and dignity.”

Michael Chan

Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

“These award recipients have demonstrated an incredible generosity of spirit by sharing their stories with us. This award acknowledges the creative talent that exists in Aboriginal children and youth, and will be the catalyst that inspires other young Aboriginal people to take up their pens and share their writings as well.”

Brad Duguid

Minister of Aboriginal Affairs



Arts and Culture Aboriginal People Children and Youth