To end 2020 on an engaging and positive note, SAY Magazine ran a poetry contest in the fall. The contest encouraged Indigenous residents of Canada and the United States to submit poetry that celebrates Indigenous culture—a fairly general theme so as to leave interpretation and creativity up to the individual.
As a result, SAY Magazine received some very insightful, and some very personal, works, and we would like to thank all of the poets for taking the time to share their submissions with us. Thank you also to the selection committee, Edmonton’s fourth Poet Laureate Anna Marie Sewell and 2019 Indigenous Voices Award winner Ktunaxa Poet Smokii Sumac, who mindfully adjudicated each submission.
“Congratulations to all the young poets, for your courage in entering this contest and challenging this most exacting of writing forms,” said Sewell. “I encourage you all to continue writing, continue learning from more experienced poets, and continue, most of all, living as vivid and meaningful a life as you can find. I wish for you a life that will reveal, in moments great and small, the constant mysterious truth that we are part of a world of wonders.”
Congratulations to Canadian resident Meghan Eaker, member of the Woodland Cree First Nation in Treaty 8 territory for her winning submission amisko wîhkaskwa.
Meghan Eaker (she/her) is a registered nurse of mixed European and Cree ancestry. She is a member of the Woodland Cree First Nation in Treaty 8 territory and grew up near amiskwaciywaskahikan (Edmonton, Alberta). She is passionate about Indigenous health and likes to sing and write poetry.
Eaker’s poem amisko wîhkaskwa references making mint tea, “to bring to our attention a whole world of history, family, loss and resilience,” said Sewell. “It shows the power of poetry to capture, in very few words, truth that lingers. The use of Nêhiyawêwin (Cree) was carefully considered and elegantly purposeful, as was the choice of something so sensory as tea.”