By Danielle Vienneau

Twenty years ago, SAY Magazine was founded, and the first issue was published with Jordin Tootoo featured on the cover, just shy of his NHL debut. But this story really begins nearly thirty years ago. SAY Magazine’s founder Leslie Lounsbury, an educator in the community college system at the time, was greatly disappointed in the lack of attention given to Indigenous Peoples in the education system. She also noticed a significant lack of positive Indigenous stories in Canadian media. Most of what she witnessed in the mainstream news, and in the education system, were negative narratives. She sought to find places that would publish good Indigenous news stories, but there were few. Notably, APTN was working hard to change the face of Indigenous representation in media as well.

Lounsbury made it her mission to change the narrative with a magazine that could reach young people in schools across Canada. She wanted to give a voice to those being silenced. It took seven years of research, work and planning before Lounsbury could secure the funding required to start a publication of her own. In 2002, with the support of her community and the financial assistance of Aboriginal Business Canada, SAY Magazine was born, and so began the legacy of spreading positive messages of hope and resilience.

After a courageous battle with cancer, our faithful leader Leslie Lounsbury crossed into the spirit world on May 27, 2018. She was a visionary who left her mark on the world as an educator and through community-based journalism with SAY Magazine. This is the legacy we intend to continue, with deep thanks to our supporters, partners and readers.

After two decades in business, our evolution as a magazine has gone from
just a print publication, publishing a few times a year, to a bi-monthly
subscription-based magazine, available in print and digital editions. With an enhanced digital presence, SAY Magazine aims to be a contemporary Indigenous resource for all people, and play a vital role in understanding and advancing reconciliation. Our mission is to motivate and inspire Indigenous Peoples through knowledge and positive success stories.

We are still learning and growing.

As we enter our third decade of operation, we continue our commitment to publishing in print. We will continue to be a safe space for stories to be shared and a source to highlight positive First Nation, Inuit and Métis role models for youth. 2022 marks the beginning of the Decade of Indigenous Languages as declared by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). We will do our part to support the revitalization and survival of Indigenous languages as an outlet for knowledge sharing. SAY Magazine will continue its legacy of being a platform for communities to have a voice, inspiring positive action in others and creating impactful change in this world. Although based in and focused on Canada, we will continue to include diverse perspectives from Indigenous Peoples across Turtle Island and abroad so that we may learn from one another.

SAY Magazine’s team includes a combination of Indigenous and non-Indigenous professionals working as allies to share Indigenous perspectives, knowledge and ways of life.