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Calling all Aboriginal writers and artists!

Jessica Ireland | Interrobang | Lifestyles | February 14th, 2011

The annual Canadian Aboriginal Arts and Writing Challenge, an initiative of The Historica-Dominion Institute, is looking for some creative works representing significant moments in Canadian Aboriginal history.

The contest, started in 2005, has always accepted written submissions such as poetry or screenplays. This year's contest marks the first year participants can submit art, although the stipulation is that it can only be two-dimensional art, such as a painting, drawing or photography.

"What we heard from young people was that not every young Aboriginal person is creative in the same way," said Jeremy Diamond, director of development and programs at the Institute, on the new criteria for the contest.

Influential individuals such as authors Joseph Boyden and Drew Hayden Taylor, and artists Kent Monkman and Stan Bevan will judge the submissions. Diamond said the experience of having their works judged by such highly regarded writers and artists is "pretty inspirational" for the young participants. Winning written entries will be published in Canada's History magazine and the winning artwork will be displayed in a gallery. Finalists will receive an award of up to $2,000 with their works published on

The contest developed out of the book Our Story: Aboriginal Voices on Canada's Past, which was published by the Institute. Those involved in the project wanted to hear from youth, to "compare the then and now," said Diamond.

The theme is broad to keep possibilities endless.

"We're very excited to see what comes in this year," he said, adding that the numbers of submissions grows each year. "We've had thousands of submissions since 2005."

All written works and art are due March 31. There are two judging categories based on age, 14 to 18 year olds and 19 to 29 year olds. For more information, visit or call the tollfree number at 1-866-701-1867.
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