Thursday Keynote, June 8

Dr. Marie Wilson (C.M., O.NWT.)

Commissioner, 2009-2015

Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada

Marie Wilson served as one of three Commissioners of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada following decades of experience as an award-winning journalist, trainer, and senior executive manager, including many years as the Regional Director for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in the CBC North region responsible for three northern territories and northern Quebec. Fluently bilingual in French and English, she has been a university professor, a high school teacher in Africa, a senior executive manager in both federal and territorial Crown Corporations, and an independent consultant in journalism, program evaluation, and project management.

Dr. Wilson was appointed the 2016 Professor of Practice in Global Governance at the Institute for Study of International Development, McGill University, and a 2016-2017 Mentor for the Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation. In addition to awards for writing and journalism excellence, she is the recipient of a CBC North Award for Lifetime Achievement, Northerner of the Year, the Calgary Peace Prize, the Toronto Heart and Vision Award, and the Pepin Award for Access to Information. She has received Honorary Doctorates from St. Thomas University, the University of Manitoba and the Atlantic School of Theology, and has been awarded both the Order of the Northwest Territories and the Order of Canada.

Friday Morning Keynote, June 9

Armand Garnet Ruffo
Armand Garnet Ruffo is a citizen of the Ojibway nation, and a Band member of the Chapleau Fox Lake Cree First Nation.  A former Associate Professor at Carleton University in Ottawa, he is currently Queen’s University’s National Scholar in Indigenous literatures.  Widely published, Ruffo’s writing and editing include Water Lily Woman, (Textualis Press, 2017), Introduction to Indigenous Literary Criticism (Broadview, 2016), The Thunderbird Poems (Harbour, 2015), and Norval Morrisseau: Man Changing Into Thunderbird (D&M, 2014), a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award.  In 2010, he wrote and directed the feature film, A Windigo Tale, winner of Best Picture at the Dreamspeakers Film Festival in Edmonton, and Best Film at the 35th American Indian Film Festival in San Francisco. Ruffo continues to lecture on Indigenous literature and read from his own work both nationally and internationally.

From Process to Production: Writing in the Indigenous Voice

Drawing on a wide range of texts for examples, author and scholar Armand Garnet Ruffo will track the historical relationship between Indigenous storyteller/author and editor.  In doing so, he will discuss the concept of “Indigenous voice” in the context of the call for Indigenous publishing protocols as they pertain to the editing of Indigenous authored texts.  By way of example, he will refer to his acclaimed creative biography Norval Morrisseau: Man Changing Into Thunderbird and employ images from Morrisseau’s paintings.

Friday Afternoon Keynote, June 9

Richard Van Camp
Richard Van Camp is an internationally renowned storyteller and best-selling author of 20 books in all genres. A proud Tlicho Dene from Fort Smith, NWT, Richard is so happy to present at this year's Writing Stick. Mahsi cho, Cousins, for coming to hear him speak. Let's have fun as we explore and celebrate The Great Mystery together.

Honouring our Knowledge Keepers in a Good Way!

In this soul engaging keynote filled with humour and inspiration, Tlicho Dene author, Richard Van Camp, will share stories that he's learned during 25 years of collecting stories from his Elders and his favourite storytellers. Get ready to start recording your own family members and folks you admire after you hear the jaw dropping stories that you will be receiving as a gift after this incredible sharing and celebration of Life and the Great Mystery. Mahsi cho!

Saturday Keynote, June 10

Dr. Patti Laboucane-Benson
Dr. Patti LaBoucane-Benson is a Métis-Ukrainian who grew up on Treaty Six Territory. Patti has worked for Native Counselling Services of Alberta (NCSA) for 22 years; she is a researcher, video producer, author, mom and avid gardener.Based on her PhD research, her first novel The Outside Circle is a work of creative non-fiction about healing and reconciliation for an inner-city Aboriginal family. The Outside Circle was on the Globe and Mail’s Top Ten Canadian books and was named a CBC “Best Books of 2015”, an Outstanding International Books 2016 by the United States Board on Books for Young People, and winner of the Red Deer Reads competition and the Burt Award for First Nations and Métis Literature.

Writing About Historic Trauma, Healing and Reconciliation
In the context of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s recommendations, Dr. Patti LaBoucane-Benson will discuss our shared colonial history, its impact of Indigenous Peoples and the call to action for all Canadians to be a part of healing and reconciliation. Referring to her graphic novel The Outside Circle and motion graphics in the video Home Fire the use of graphic illustrations to engage audiences in the reconciliation movement will be explored.