Accessible transcripts of papers and keynotes are available, please contact us via email for access.

A Welcome and Land Acknowledgement from Joseph Naytowhow

All-Day Public Access
July 8      Keynote and Readings by Rita Wong
July 9      Prairie Plenary Readings featuring Trevor Herriot and Candace Savage

Rita Wong

An acclaimed poet and associate professor at Emily Carr University of Art and Design, Rita Wong investigates the relationships between contemporary poetics, social justice, ecology, and decolonization. For some time now, she has been researching the poetics of water. A recipient of the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize and the Asian Canadian Writers’ Workshop Emerging Writer Award, Wong is the author of monkeypuzzle (Press Gang, 1998), forage (Nightwood, 2007, short-listed for the 2008 Asian American Literary Award for Poetry, winner of Canada Reads Poetry 2011), sybil unrest (Line Books, 2008, with Larissa Lai), and undercurrent (Nightwood 2015). Wong co-authored the map-length poem beholden: a poem as long as the river, with Fred Wah for Talonbooks in 2018. In 2016 she co-edited Downstream: Reimagining Water, a collection of work on the theme of water, with Dorothy Christian for the Environmental Humanities series with WLU Press. 

Trevor Herriot

Trevor Herriot is a prairie naturalist, activist, and writer living on the northern edge of the Great Plains in Regina, Saskatchewan. His first book, River in a Dry Land: a Prairie Passage (2000), received several national awards and a nomination for the Governor General’s Award for Non-Fiction. Grass, Sky, Song: Promise and Peril in the World of Grassland Birds (2009) was a Globe & Mail Top 100 book, was listed by Quill and Quire on its 2009 list of 15 books that matter, and shortlisted for the Writer’s Trust Non-Fiction Prize, the Governor General’s Award for Non-fiction, and the William Saroyan International Prize for Writing (non-fiction). His other books include Jacob’s Wound: a Search for the Spirit of Wildness (2004), The Road is How: A Prairie Pilgrimage through Nature, Desire, and Soul (2014), and Towards a Prairie Atonement (2016), which connects history and ecology in prairie landscapes with a story about the forced removal of a community of 250 Metis people in the late 1930s. His latest book, Islands of Grass, with photographer Branimir Gjetvaj, was published in 2017. His writing has also appeared in the Globe & Mail and Canadian Geographic, as well as several anthologies. He has written two radio documentaries for CBC Ideas and is a regular guest on CBC Radio Saskatchewan’s Blue Sky. He posts regularly on his grassland blog, Grass Notes.

Louise Halfe

Louise Bernice Halfe was born in Two Hills, Alberta, and was raised on the Saddle Lake Reserve. Her Cree name is Sky Dancer. Her most recent work, Burning in this Midnight Dream (2016), won three Saskatchewan Book Awards, as well as the Raymond Souster Award for Poetry. Her three previous collections of poetry include Bear Bones & Feathers, Blue Marrow and The Crooked Good. Halfe served as Saskatchewan’s Poet Laureate from 2005 to 2006. Her poems have won National Magazine Awards and her work on the article and visual essay “In Attawapiskat: Real life on the Rez” received an honorary mention for The Walrus Magazine. Louise has a Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Regina and received an Honorary Degree of Letters (Ph. D) from Wilfrid Laurier University in 2012. She currently works with Elders in an organization called Opikinawasowin (“raising our children”). She lives outside of Saskatoon with her husband.

Candace Savage

Candace Savage was born in the Peace River Country of northern Alberta and educated at the University of Alberta. She is the award-winning author of more than two dozen books including A Geography of Blood: Unearthing Memory from a Prairie Landscape (2012), which won the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction, and Prairie: A Natural History, winner of the Saskatchewan Book of the Year Award. A new children’s book, Hello, Crow!, illustrated by Chelsea O’Byrne, was published in fall 2019. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, Candace Savage was inducted into the Honor Roll of the Rachel Carson Institute, Chatham College, in Pittsburgh in 1994. In addition to her work as a writer, she is member of both the Saskatoon Fiddle Orchestra and Le Choeur des plaines and also chairs Wild about Saskatoon’s NatureCity Festival.  She lives in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

Joseph Naytowhow

Joseph Naytowhow is a gifted Plains/Woodland Cree (nehiyaw) singer/songwriter, storyteller, and voice, stage and film actor from the Sturgeon Lake First Nation Band in Saskatchewan. As a child, Joseph was influenced by his grandfather’s traditional and ceremonial chants as well as the sounds of the fiddle and guitar. Today he is renowned for his unique style of Cree/English storytelling, combined with original contemporary music and traditional First Nations drum and rattle songs.

An accomplished performer, Joseph is the recipient of the 2006 Canadian Aboriginal Music Award’s Keeper of the Tradition Award and the 2005 Commemorative Medal for the Saskatchewan Centennial. In 2009 Joseph also received a Gemini Award for Best Individual or Ensemble Performance in an Animated Program or Series for his role in Wapos Bay series. That same year he was also awarded Best Emerging Male Actor at the Winnipeg Aboriginal Film Festival for his role in Run: Broken Yet Brave and won Best Traditional Male Dancer at John Arcand’s Fiddlefest in Saskatchewan. 

Joseph holds a Bachelor of Education degree from the University of Saskatchewan. As an innovative artist, mentor, and a committed arts educator he fully embraces his own lifelong learning curve.