University of Alberta Press


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The Writing Stick: Sharing Indigenous Stories Conference in June 2017 brought 230 people together to talk about best practices in writing, editing, and publishing Indigenous stories. More than 40 per cent of the attendees self-identified as Indigenous.

Attendees heard 28 remarkable speakers from British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, and Massachusetts. The keynote speakers were Marie Wilson, Armand Garnet Ruffo, Richard Van Camp, and Patti Laboucane-Benson. Much of the material carried an emotional impact for the participants, while the presence of elders and the inclusion of ceremony throughout the conference enhanced the powerful experience. The most consistent feedback the organizers received was that future conferences should be held—that coming together to have these conversations is both worthy and important.

Legacy pieces include videotaped presentations and slide decks, a graphic recording, and a commissioned piece of art. Go to to learn more, as all information will be housed there. 

The steering committee included members from Alberta Aboriginal Arts, Alberta Magazine Publishers Association, Book Publishers Association of Alberta, Dreamspeakers Film Festival, Edmonton Public Library, Theytus Books, and the Writers’ Guild of Alberta. The University of Alberta Press, initiators of the conference, had three representatives on the committee: Linda Cameron, Cathie Crooks, and Tanya Ball.

The conference would not have been possible without funding from the Government of Canada through the Department of Canadian Heritage, the Government of Alberta, the University of Alberta, the City of Edmonton, the Edmonton Arts Council, and Access Copyright Foundation.


Our thanks to everyone who participated.