First Prize Winner leads Manitoban Finalists in Aboriginal Art and Writing Awards

June 21, 2012

Youth Winners honoured at Reception hosted by Joseph Boyden at Manitoba Museum in Winnipeg

Winnipeg – June 21, 2012- Seventeen-year-old Tommy Starr from Pine Creek First Nationin Northern Manitoba placed first in the Junior Writing Category of The Historica-Dominion Institute’s annual Canadian Aboriginal Writing and Arts Challenge for his work A Day with the Grandfathers.” Tommy joined Giller winner Joseph Boyden at a special awards reception today at the Manitoba Museum in Winnipeg, along with fellow winners , Stephanie Wesley (29) of Thunder Bay, Ontario Victoria Swain (17) of Bruce Mines, Ontario, and Melanie Jewell (24) of Fort Smith, Northwest Territories.
Manitoba is also home to two of this year’s Arts finalists, Jordan Stranger (23) of Winnipeg andAmber Wilkinson (28) of St. Andrews, as well as two Writing Finalists, finalists Kelly Delaronde (15) of Dauphin, and Joshua Whitehead (23), of Selkirk.
Presented by Enbridge Inc., for the past 8 years, the Challenge has invited youth from across Canada to explore an aspect of their heritage through literary and visual arts for a chance to win more than $15,000 in prizes.

The 2012 award ceremony featured a high-energy performance from the Aboriginal School of Dance and was attended by youth as well as community leaders.
"I'm excited to host the National Aboriginal Writing and Arts Challenge for a fourth consecutive year.  This time we'll be in beautiful Winnipeg and on National Aboriginal Day, to boot.  And this year's competition saw the largest number of entries in the event's history.  The competition was fierce, and all of the winners are wonderfully talented." – Joseph Boyden.
“Each year the Challenge grows, as more and more First Nations, Métis, and Inuit youth create compelling pieces, sharing their heritage and talent through this competition. The Institute is excited to celebrate this new generation of artists and storytellers and all of this year’s winners.”— Jeremy Diamond, Director at The Historica-Dominion Institute.

The Canadian Aboriginal Writing and Arts Challenge encourages Aboriginal youth to interpret an aspect of their heritage through art or writing. More than 375 submissions were received this year. Work is juried by an esteemed panel which includes Lee Maracle, John Kim Bell, Stan Bevan and Drew Hayden Taylor. Winner profiles at
Presented by Enbridge Inc., the Challenge is a program of The Historica-Dominion Institute. Supporting sponsors include sponsors, Vale, TD Bank Group, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada and Canada’s History magazine. Media Sponsors include Aboriginal Link and Blackstone.
The Historica-Dominion Institute is the largest independent organization dedicated to history and citizenship in Canada. Its mandate is to build active and informed citizens through a greater knowledge and appreciation of the history, heritage and stories of Canada. Visit
Enbridge Inc. is a North American leader in delivering energy and one of the Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations. Enbridge operates the world's longest crude oil and liquids transportation system, as well as natural gas gathering, transmission and midstream businesses, and Canada's largest natural gas distribution company. Enbridge has interests in close to 1,000 megawatts of renewable and alternative energy generating capacity. Enbridge is committed to making the communities where it has operations better places to live, and is proud to invest in programs like the Aboriginal Arts & Writing challenge that help to develop the leaders of tomorrow. For many years, Enbridge has provided funding to Aboriginal and Native American people for education and scholarship initiatives. Enbridge employs approximately 7,000 people, primarily in Canada and the U.S. and is ranked as one of Canada's Greenest Employers, and one of the Top 100 Companies to Work for in Canada.


For more information:
Davida Aronovitch
The Historica-Dominion Institute
1.866.701.1867 x 222