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Indigenous literary prize in the works to counter ‘appropriation prize’ controversy


A Toronto lawyer has started an online fundraiser to support young or emerging Indigenous writers, and it has already raised over $ 1,100 for a literary award since being launched on Monday.

Robin Parker’s idea for an award fund is in response to the uproar over an editorial published in Write magazine that argued in favour of “cultural appropriation,” and a subsequent scandal involving several media executives — including one from CBC — who tweeted that they would contribute money to an appropriation prize.

It sparked outrage and heated debate online, with many feeling that such a public exchange among the media executives mocked Indigenous people.

“I was watching the ‘appropriation prize’ story unfold on Twitter in real time and it was so upsetting,” said Parker, who started the Emerging Indigenous Voices fundraising campaign on the crowdfunding website IndieGoGo.

“I didn’t want to take up space arguing. I wanted to help create space for creativity and art.”

‘Backing of the community’

Parker, who aims to raise $ 10,000 for the award, said it’s important that the money and support come from the public.

“Wouldn’t it be really cool to think that if you won this award, that it was created by a thousand people as opposed to one rich person?” she said.

“You would really feel like you had the backing of the community.”

Parker said if they can raise the money, she prefers to donate it to an existing Indigenous organization that can manage the award.

She’s also hoping people in the literary world will see and support the fundraising campaign, which will be open for the next two months.

CBC | Arts News