Ontario Honours Talented Indigenous Youth

Published on June 04, 2021


James Bartleman Award Recognizes Indigenous Students for their Creative Writing

June 04, 2021
Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries


TORONTO — Ontario is honouring six talented Indigenous students with the James Bartleman Indigenous Youth Creative Writing Award. The 2018 and 2019 award recipients are being recognized for writing remarkable stories that illustrate powerful and personal accounts of their unique perspectives and challenges, helping to promote literacy among Indigenous youth.

The Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, was joined today virtually by Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries to present the awards.

“These young writers are representative of the important contributions Indigenous writers make to Ontario’s cultural landscape,” said Minister MacLeod. “I offer my sincere congratulations to all of the award recipients and encourage them to continue to share their unique stories with Ontarians across our province.”

The recipients are:

  • Mya Dixon from Sandy Lake First Nation is the recipient of the Senior Fly-In category
  • Mikaela Allen from Newmarket is the recipient of the Junior Off-Reserve category
  • Ariel Wendling from Port Colborne is the recipient of the Senior Off-Reserve category
  • Kaylem Daybutch from Mississauga First Nation is the recipient of the Senior On-Reserve category
  • Pearson Meeseetawageesic from Eabamet Lake is the recipient of the Junior Fly-In category
  • Denyce Sandy from Kenora is the recipient of the Junior On-Reserve category.

The award was established in 2008 to honour the legacy of James Bartleman, as the province’s 27thLieutenant Governor and the first Indigenous person to be appointed to the role. It recognizes his efforts and contributions to promoting literacy among Indigenous youth, which include organizing book drives for underprivileged communities.


Quick Facts

  • The recipients were chosen by an independent selection committee in recognition of their excellent creative writing talent. The members of the committee are from Indigenous communities.
  • The annual award recognizes Indigenous students for their creative writing talent in three geographic categories: fly-in community, on reserve and off reserve. Recipients must be enrolled at an Ontario school and receive a one-time award of $2,500.
  • Interested students may apply for the James Bartleman award by mail or online. This year, the deadline has been extended to June 30.


"On behalf of the people of Ontario, I offer my gratitude and congratulations to the 2018 and 2019 recipients. Your skill at expressing vulnerability and building empathy act as a beacon for us all on the long and necessary path towards reconciliation and healing. My thanks also to my predecessor, the Honourable James Bartleman, the founder of these awards and a true visionary."

- The Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell
Lieutenant Governor of Ontario

"Each year, I am inspired by the powerful submissions that are put forward by young Indigenous writers from across the province. These six recipients have bravely shared their stories with us, exemplifying courage and strength. Their unique perspectives are essential to improving the understanding of Indigenous communities in Ontario."

- The Honourable James K. Bartleman
Former Lieutenant Governor of Ontario

"Congratulations to all the award recipients on their remarkable achievement. These awards not only recognize their hard work and commitment to excellence; they also provide an important opportunity for the voices of Indigenous youth to shine through and be heard."

- Greg Rickford
Minister of Indigenous Affairs


Additional Resources

Learn more about the James Bartleman Indigenous Youth Creative Writing Award.