Ontario Newsroom

Six Aboriginal Youth Take Home Bartleman Awards

Archived News Release

Six Aboriginal Youth Take Home Bartleman Awards

Ontario Awards Talented Young Writers for their Creative Writing

Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration

Ontario is honouring the creativity of six young Aboriginal writers from across the province with the James Bartleman Aboriginal Youth Creative Writing Award.

The awards give Aboriginal youth an opportunity to showcase their creative writing abilities. This year's successful entries include poems that address the damaging effects of bullying, isolation and the legacy of residential schools.

The 2012 award recipients are: 

  • Kiara Lynn Bird of Naotkamegwanning First Nations
  • Rachel Bluecoat of Fort Severn
  • Justine Kennedy of Waterloo
  • Chelsea Roberta McKay of Wunnumin Lake
  • Calista Mawakeesic of Sioux Lookout
  • Carlene Evangeline Genevieve Wiitala of Cutler

Quick Facts

  • This year, more than 250 entries were received.
  • Since its creation in 2008, the James Bartleman Aboriginal Youth Creative Writing Awards have been given to 30 Aboriginal youth. Winners receive a $2,500 cash prize.
  • Eligible participants must be 18 years of age or younger, enrolled in an Ontario school, self-identify as an Aboriginal person, and permanent residents of Ontario.
  • The Honourable James K. Bartleman was Ontario’s first Aboriginal Lieutenant Governor. From 2002–2007, he implemented four literacy initiatives for Aboriginal youth across Ontario.
  • About 27 per cent of Aboriginal people in Ontario are 15 years old or younger.

Additional Resources


“I am honored to celebrate the writing skills of these talented young minds from across the province. Their creativity reminds us how powerful written words are when exposing their hopes and dreams.”

The Honourable David C. Onley

Lieutenant Governor of Ontario

“The clever thoughts and imaginative writing showcased by these young writers gives us a unique perspective of the personal journey of Ontario’s young Aboriginal people. They have found in writing an intellectual stimulant, a door that opens a world of possibilities.”

The Honourable James K. Bartleman

former Lieutenant Governor of Ontario

“By sharing a glimpse of their challenges and dreams, the six award recipients have become an inspiration for their peers and a powerful voice for their communities. They are our future leaders.”

The Honourable Charles Sousa

Ontario Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

“Aboriginal youth in Ontario have tremendous potential and I am impressed by their talent to share their unique stories and culture at such a young age. I encourage them to continue to develop their craft as promising young writers and authors in Ontario.”

The Honourable Kathleen Wynne

Minister of Aboriginal Affairs

Media Contacts



Arts and Culture Rural and North Aboriginal People Children and Youth