Kegedonce is proud to congratulate Smokii Sumac, winner of the 2019 Indigenous Voices Award for Published Poetry in English!
Smokii's book, You are Enough: love poems for the end of the world is a debut poetry collection published by Kegedonce in December 2018. In it, Smokii curates a selection of works from two years of a near daily poetry practice. What began as a sort of daily online poetry journal using the hashtag #haikuaday, has since transformed into a brilliant collection of storytelling drawing upon Indigenous literary practice, and inspired by works like Billy Ray Belcourt's This Wound is a World, and Tenille Campbell's #IndianLovePoems. With sections dealing with recovery from addiction and depression, coming home through ceremony, and of course, as the title suggests, on falling in and out of love, Sumac brings the reader through two years of life as a Ktunaxa Two-Spirit person. This collection addresses the grief of being an Indigenous person in Canada, shares timely (and sometimes hilarious) musings on consent, sex, and gender, and through it all, helps us come to know that we are enough, just as we are.
Smokii Sumac is a proud member of the Ktunaxa nation. He is a PhD Candidate in Indigenous Studies at Trent University where his research centres on "coming home" stories from a Ktunaxa adoptee and two-spirit perspective. Smokii’s work has been published in Write Magazine, and under his former name (he is a man of many names) in Canadian Literature, Aanikoobijigan//Waawaashkeshi and on coffee sleeves as one of the winners of Peterborough's e-city lit’s artsweek contest in 2014. He currently shares his time between Nogojiwanong (Peterborough), and Ithaca, NY.
Kegedonce would also like to congratulate Jules Arita Koostachin, whose book Unearthing Secrets, Gathering Truths was shortlisted for the same prize! Jules's poetry offers a glimpse into the life and the healing of an lnnininew woman from the ancestral lands of the Moshkekowok, now called Northern Ontario. It is through the process of writing broken poetry; visual poetry rooted in the haunting memories of her childhood, that she provides the reader a glimpse into the mind of child survivor who was saved by her ancestors. This thought-provoking poetry sheds light on a personal account of how she comes to terms with intergenerational trauma inflicted by the residential school system. Through the honesty of her words, she embraces the spirit world, the resilience of her foremothers, the integral healing powers of disassociation as a survival mechanism, and the richness of her mitewin – dreams, which reconnect her to herself. Through her poetry, she has found the courage to face her difficult past, and now as a mother, she is gathering the truths of her family to help in the healing process.
The Indigenous Voices Awards or IVAs, now in their second year, were awarded at a gala on Tuesday evening at the UBC First Nations House of Learning Longhouse, Vancouver.