June 14 2023 – Author Talk – For National Indigenous Peoples Day – with Mary-Anne Neal and Katlia Lafferty
Mary-Anne will explain the genesis of the Dene Heroes Project and how a collaborative writing initiative can bring hope and pride to Indigenous youth and community members of all ages. She will read a selected passage from one of the Dene Hero books.
Katlia will talk about the importance of Indigenous Peoples being able to tell their own stories. She will read a selected passage from her latest novel “Northern Wildfire.”
This is a chance for all of us to hear the voices of Canada’s First Nation People, and learn how they see their history and culture, and what they value about their way of life.
About The Speakers:
Mary-Anne Neal is a faculty member at Royal Roads University who also works with Indigenous people in the far North. In 2016, in Northwest Territories, she launched a collaborative writing project for the Sahtu Dene people to amplify their voices. In four years four books were published, entitled “Dene Heroes of the Sahtu.” The stories, written by the Dene themselves, honour people for their survival skills. They also celebrate Dene customs, language, lifestyle and traditions. The books have been distributed in northern schools and libraries. The Dene Heroes Publication project won the Arctic Inspiration Prize for Innovation that improves the lives of the northerners.
Katlia Lafferty grew up in Northwest Territories and is a member of the Yellowknife Dene First Nation. She is an author, activist, journalist and lawyer. In 2018, her memoir “Northern Wildflower” topped the bestseller list in Northwest Territories. Her novel, “Land, Water, Sky” won the Northwood Books Award in 2021. Another memorable book is “This House Is Not a Home,” about the life of a Dene family, who upon returning from a hunt finds that the site on which their home once stood has been taken over by settlers. Katlia was the first climate Writer-in-Residence at the West Vancouver Memorial Library, and is an advocate on climate change issues as they affect Indigenous people.