As a part of the Indigenous Speakers Series, the Waterloo Aboriginal Education Centre and the Faculty of Arts invited Kateri Akiwenzie-Damm, an Anishinaabe member of the Chippewas of Nawash First Nation in Southwestern Ontario.
Akiwenzie-Damn came to tell of her career as an Indigenous writer, editor, and founder of the publishing company Kegedonce Press, but also to express the intricacy and complexity of life through her book, The Stone Collection.
The novel is a collection of 14 short stories originally published in 2015, depicting love and loss through the perspective of several modern-day Anishinaabe individuals.
A live-reading of a poignant excerpt captured audience members this past Jan. 18.
However, it should be noted that the writing that has been published under Kegedonce Press spans a variety of genres, ranging from humour to horror. One such publication is Wrist by Nathan Adler, an intriguing story intertwining Indigenous monsters with elements of horror.
The Kegedonce Press publishing company was established in 1993 to “foster the creative cultural expression of Indigenous Peoples through the publication of beautifully crafted books which involve Indigenous Peoples in all levels of production.”
Akiwenzie-Damm also explained the difficulty in publishing and promoting authors that were not as well known as mainstream writers in the industry.
Nevertheless, for Akiwenzie-Damm, this is the missing piece that needs to be continued in order to encourage Indigenous expression through literature across Canada.
“I think since I’ve started writing, I’ve had this hope,” Akiwenzie-Damm said, “this dream, that those words are going to reach back to our communities.”
Photo above taken by Ju Hyun Kim