The Indigenous Editors Circle

In response to the lack of Indigenous representation in the Canadian publishing industry, the Saskatchewan Arts Board, under the guidance of Joanne Gerber and in consultation with Indigenous writers and publishing professionals, created the Indigenous Editors Circle (IEC) in 2014.

In 2015, recognizing the need to include non-Indigenous editors in the process, organizers added a second circle. In 2017, the Circle moved from Saskatchewan to Humber College in Toronto. Indigenous editors and representatives of the publishing industry spent the week learning about Indigenous voices, ways of knowing, protocols, storytelling, and copyright.

The IEC exposes participants to ways they can better understand Indigenous writers and stories. And it is a primer in building the relationships that are at the heart of working with Indigenous writers. An elder once told me that the best way to do that is to “listen with your whole heart.” Listening with your heart and being open to new ways of publishing will introduce equity to our industry and help us create lasting relationships.

The program will not run in 2018, but the Indigenous Editors Association is working hard to open it to participants in 2019. In the coming months, look for a website that will include a database of Indigenous editors that writers and publishers can work with. Our goal is to nurture Indigenous editors and writers to ensure respectful representation of Indigenous peoples in Canadian literature.

Rhonda Kronyk (photo by Dallas Kronyk)

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