MNBC Culture Series: Jónína Kirton (Issue #3)
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An MNBC Culture Series: Honouring our past and creating our future
Heritage, culture, and language constitute the backbone of Métis, and other Aboriginal, communities across Canada. A strong and vibrant culture is directly related to healthy people and a strong sense of pride. It is crucial to promote culture, heritage and language as these are said to define who we are and shape the way we think. The traditional cultures of our Ancestors, shaped by nature, still exert a strong influence on generations today, from spirituality to political attitudes. Culture, heritage, and language, are all part of daily life (i.e. family and community, food, art, songs, dance, spirituality, values, history, and land use activities) and they all interact with one another to make up our unique way-of-life.
To honour the richness and uniqueness of Métis culture, heritage, and language, we are beginning a feature showcasing various Métis artists, story-tellers, writers, harvesters, and knowledge holders. We hope that you can relate to their intriguing, fascinating, and inspiring stories. Perhaps they will even bring up some good childhood (or current) memories for you.
Featuring Author Jónína Kirton
Jónína Kirton is a prairie born, proud MNBC citizen and is a Métis/Icelandic poet, author and facilitator who currently resides in the Lower Mainland. She graduated from Simon Fraser University’s Writer’s Studio in 2007 and attended the Emerging Aboriginal Writer’s Residency at the Banff Centre in 2008. She has been involved with the Aboriginal Writers Collective – West Coast, and she coordinated the first National Indigenous Writers Conference in Vancouver 2013. In 2015 Kirton joined the editorial board of Room Magazine.
Jónína’s work has been featured in numerous anthologies and literary journals, including Ricepaper’s Asian & Aboriginal issue, V6A: Writing from Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, Other Tongues: Mixed Race Women Speak Out, Pagan Edge, First Nations Drum, Toronto Quarterly, and Quills Canadian Poetry Magazine. She won first prize and two honourable mentions in the 2013 Royal City Literary Arts Society’s Write On! Contest and was a finalist in the 2013 Burnaby Writers’ Society Writing Contest. Awarded a Canada Council grant in 2009 to complete page as bone – ink as blood. Most recently she accepted a 2016 Mayor’s Arts Award in Vancouver.
We had the chance to ask this inspiring artist a bit about herself and hear a little of her story: (read full interview PDF)