Indigenous Brilliance

Indigenous Brilliance is celebrating their one-year anniversary as a reading series with brilliant poets, writers, singers, visual artists, academics, beadworkers, medicine makers, and more in a day-long event. This major event will feature four readings, and will host Indigenous women/2SQ vendors, entrepreneurs, and artists throughout the entire day.

Image: Jónína Kirton and Jessica Johns hosting Indigenous Brilliance at Growing Room 2018.

Concrete Roots: Urban Indigeneity // 11:15am – 1:00pm
Officially opening Growing Room’s Indigenous Brilliance is Salia Joseph. Concrete Roots dives into the relation of Urbanization and Indigeneity, and how Indigenous brilliance can take root anywhere we choose to exist. Featuring Jo Billows, Carol Rose Daniels, Brandi Bird, Lindsay Nixon, and Samantha Nock.

Tender Rage: Keeping the Flame // 2:00pm – 3:30pm
How do we balance our rage with the gentle side of us? These exceptional creators lend us the privilege of sharing their Tender Rage: ways they love and yell, care and seethe, comfort and fume. Fire can both warm and burn you, and Eden Robinson, Valeen Jules, Katherena Vermette, and Arielle Twist know just how to do both.

Transference: Music and Poetry // 4:30pm – 6:00pm
Poetry and music often go hand-in-hand, informing and communicating with one another in a cycle of inspiration. Join us for this special event as Joanne Arnott, Zofia Rose Musiej, Jules Koostachin, and estíqw share their poetry, music, and brilliance all on one stage.

This event is replacing the Kegedonce Press 25th Anniversary Celebration, which has been cancelled.

Reinventing Narratives // 7:00pm – 8:30pm
Indigenous brilliance comes from all kinds of places, and that brilliance is big, bright, and transformative. Join Jónína Kirton, Denali YoungWolfe, Emily Riddle, and Molly Cross-Blanchard as they share works that subvert and reinvent narratives, and words that open up worlds.

Event Type: Readings / Special Event
Red Gate Revue Stage
Date: Saturday, March 9, 11:00am – 8:30pm
Cost: Pay What You Can (recommended: $12.50 per reading or $40 for the day)
ASL Interpretation Available by Request Before February 15, 2019


Joanne Arnott received the Vancouver Mayor’s Arts Award for Literary Arts, 2017. Métis/mixed-blood author of nine books, EVENT Magazine’s poetry editor.


Jo Billows is swift waters, secrets and salal berries. Northern Coast Salish (Homalco), they are a queer, trans nonbinary, urban Indigenous, spoken word poet and facilitator.


Brandi Bird is a Two-Spirit Saulteaux and Cree poet currently living and learning on Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh territory. They study Creative Writing at Douglas College.


Molly Cross-Blanchard is a Métis writer, MFA student at UBC, editor at PRISM international, and author of the chapbook I Don’t Want to Tell You.

Carol Rose Daniels is a Saskatchewan Author of award-winning novel Bearskin Diary.  Her first book of poetry – Hiraeth – was released in early 2018 (Inanna Publications). Her second novel – Narrows of Fear – is also set to be released spring 2019 (Nightwood Editions). Carol is also an Aboriginal artist, multi-disciplined in the areas of writing, storytelling, singing/drumming, and visual art.

Salia Joseph is from the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh and Snuneymuxw First Nation’s on her father’s side and is British and Jewish on her mothers. In 2016 she graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in First Nations and Indigenous studies from the University of British Columbia, where she focused on Indigenous feminisms and new media. She recently graduated from a yearlong full time immersion program in her language, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Sníchim at Simon Fraser University. Salia sings in a band called An̓usáyum̓ (Two Berries) as well as a traditional Sḵwx̱wú7mesh dance/singing group called Ta Na Wa Káwstem. Salia manages Kwi Awt Stelmexw, a Sḵwx̱wú7mes language and culture non-prophet. 

Valeen Jules is a radio producer, youth outreach worker, spoken word artist, community organizer and full-spectrum doula from the Nuu-chah-nulth and Kwakwaka’wakw nations.

Jónína Kirton is a Red River Métis/Icelandic poet. Her second book, An Honest Woman, was a finalist in the 2017 Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize.


Jules Arita Koostachin, owner of VisJuelles Productions Inc. is MoshKeKo Cree and a band member of Attawapiskat First Nation, located in what is now called Northern Ontario. Jules is a PhD candidate with the Institute of Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice at the University of British Columbia.


Lindsay Nixon is a Cree-Métis-Saulteaux curator, award-nominated editor, award-nominated writer, and McGill Art History PhD student. They currently hold the position of Editor-at-Large for Canadian Art. Nixon has previously edited mâmawi­-âcimowak, an independent art, art criticism, and literature journal, and their writing has appeared in Malahat ReviewRoomGUTSMICEesseInuit Art QuarterlyTeen Vogue, and other publications. nîtisânak is their first book.

Samantha Nock is a Cree-Métis poet, writer, and podcast host from Dawson Creek, BC. Her family originally comes from Ile-a-la-Crosse, Saskatchewan.


Emily Riddle is nehiyaw from the Alexander First Nation in Treaty 6. She is a researcher/writer/policy analyst. She has been published in the Globe and Mail, Teen Vogue, Canadian Art, and others.


Eden Robinson is a Haisla/Heiltsuk author who grew up in Haisla, British Columbia.  Her novel Son of a Trickster was shortlisted for The Giller Prize.  Her latest novel is Trickster Drift.


Arielle Twist is an author and community educator from George Gordons First Nation, Saskatchewan. Disintegrate/Dissociate is her first collection of poetry with Arsenal Pulp Press.


Katherena Vermette is a Métis writer from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Her first book, North End Love Songs (The Muses Company) won the Governor General’s Literary Award for Poetry in 2013. Her novel, The Break (House of Anansi), was a bestseller in Canada and won multiple awards. Vermette’s second book of poetry, river woman, was published in the fall of 2018.

A survivor of the child welfare system, adopted and raised in Nêhiyaw culture Denali YoungWolfe is now a UBC graduate student & public scholar focused on asserting and disseminating healthy narratives of Indigeneity for future generations.

Estíqw is an anti-professional, working as a musician, slam poet and visual artist with a focus on decolonization and indigenous autonomy. they are a defender of the sacred and use their craft as a tool to decolonization and land sovereignty. they and their fire are from the secwepemc nation of the south-central interior.

Zofia Rose Musiej is a Polish, Carrier first nations interdisciplenary artist who lives in and performs music and poetry in the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Watuth nations. She is a slave to the muse, loves to busk in East Van, and is currently attending The Writer’s Studio at SFU as a poetry student.

Update: Unfortunately, Kateri Akiwenzie-Damm is no longer able to appear at this event. 


These Indigenous vendors will be in the lobby of the Red Gate Revue Stage throughout the day from 11:00am- 7:00pm, so make sure to come check them out!

Kihew and Rose:
Indigenous-made Jewelry and goods specializing in hand-beaded earrings, necklaces and other small jewelry. I also offer custom services for special occasions such as weddings, graduations and baby moss-bags.

Raven and Hummingbird:
Products range from indigenous teas made from the important medicines of the ecosystem here in the Pacific Northwest Coast and have some blends that honour our Hawaiian heritage. we grow many of our plants in our community garden in the Xwemeltchsn, now known as Capilano Reserve in West Vancouver. other plant-based products we have handmade salves, tinctures, beeswax candles from our beehives in the community garden, and pure raw honey.

The Wild Botanicals:
An Indigenous owned beauty brand specializing in small batch skincare products rooted in Indigenous Plant relationships. We carry a range of products from facial oils, serums, bath salts creams and body butters, salves, clay masques, soap.

LadyBear Designs: (Instagram) @ladybeardesigns
Contemporary Indigenous art specializing in rattles, dreamcatchers, and jewelry.

Cheam Trading Post:
The Cheam Trading Post offers wild salmon and seafood from the Pacific Coast, wild-crafted and sustainably harvested food  and medicines from the Coast Salish territory and, local and authentic arts and crafts from local Indigenous artists.

Too too Soahkomapii: Jakob Knudsen
Hand-crafted patches of your favourite books


Jessica Johns is nehiyaw and a member of Sucker Creek First Nation in Treaty 8 territory in northern Alberta. She is currently living on the traditional territory of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh peoples.


Patricia Massy is Cree/English and a member of the As’in’i’wa’chi Ni’yaw Nation. She is the proprietor of Massy Books, a 100% Indigenous owned bookstore operating on the traditional, ancestral, unceded, and occupied territory of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), or sel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations.

Emily Dundas Oke is an emerging artist and curator. A 2018 graduate of Philosophy and Visual Art (BA) from Thompson Rivers University, Emily has exhibited nationally and internationally. She is currently an artist in residence at Nida Art Colony (Lithuania). She is a grateful Cree, Métis, Scottish, and English visitor on the unceded and ancestral territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations.

jaye simpson is an oji-cree two spirit trans femme writer, artist and performer. they are the great grandchild of the savages and witches and catholic church couldn’t burn.


Thank you to our sponsors and partners of this event