Indigenous Youth Poetry Program

The Indigenous youth poetry program is designed to encourage and highlight Indigenous writers of Edmonton, AB in the 2018 Edmonton Poetry Festival. It is part of the festival’s Poetry Moves youth programming.

Program Background

An event titled Beyond Reconciliation on April 23, 2017 was the origin for the Indigenous Youth Poetry Program. “Beyond Reconciliation” was exclusive to local Aboriginal poets, and was an evening expressing tremendous creativity, truth, and laughter. It was from this event that the Indigenous Youth Poetry Program was conceived. Thanks to Alice Major and Rayanne Haines a grant was secured through the Canada Council of the Arts to continue to encourage local Indigenous youth to write and perform in the Edmonton Poetry Festival 2018.

Program Purpose

The Indigenous Youth Poetry Program is designed to mentor local Indigenous poets in the areas of writing and performance. The Edmonton Poetry Festival will feature a group of ten poets as a part of this year’s 2018 festival. The ten poets will also be given to option to perform at the Stroll of Poets in June.

The program is designed to have ten poets hone their words in the area of not only writing but also performance.

Program Objectives and Outcomes

The overall objective is to encourage local Indigenous writers to continue their work, and to have a broader understanding of how their work contributes to the lives of others. In order to complete this objective, we each, as artists have to consider what it is that our words do, how we speak them, what our body language tells an audience, and how our eyes connect to those who are listening to us. Making our words echo long after they are spoken is important.

This program explores the themes of identity, language, inherent ways, place, rewriting, voice, and practice, practice, practice. We will work together as a collective of Indigenous artists whose purpose is to support, and encourage one another.


Norma Dunning is an Inuk writer, scholar and researcher. Her debut collection of short stories, Annie Muktuk and Other Stories, was released in June of 2017 through the University of Alberta Press. Several of her poetic works have been published in various literary magazines, and she has recently completed her first poetic manuscript.

Program Outline

Program outline

Note: Light meal will be served.