Indigenous Brilliance

Indigenous Brilliance

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Indigenous Brilliance is a collective based on the tradition, ancestral, and unceded territory of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh people.

Stories hold the incredible power to heal wounds, connect people, and bridge generations. We believe that this is an incredibly important time to be centring Indigenous stories and to be shining the spotlight on the brilliance that exists in our communities.

We hope that the Indigenous Brilliance series will reflect this belief. The series grew out of the shared desire of Massy Books owner Patricia Massy and Room Magazine editorial board members Jónína Kirton and Jessica Johns to raise the voices of Indigenous women, Two Spirit and queer writers. This series is the result of different communities coming together with a shared vision of Indigenous resurgence: a resurgence that exists through the act of making space for ourselves and each other, through community building, and through the radical act of living and loving. We want to celebrate Indigenous stories, the different ways we think, share, and perform. Made up of Patricia Massy, Jónína Kirton, Jessica Johns, jaye simpson, Emily Dundas Oke and Karmella Benedito De Barros, our collective organizes a quarterly reading series, community workshops, social media engagement and podcast series. We hope our actions will allow us to come together to stand behind the voices we uplift while we’re standing with each other.

Image credit: Amanda Hugon, Spirit Within, 2018

The Indigenous Brilliance Collective:

Patricia Massy is of Cree and English descent and a member of the As’in’i’wa’chi Ni’yaw Nation (Kelly Lake Cree Nation) // Co-founder and co-curator

Jessica Johns is a nehiyaw aunty and member of Sucker Creek First Nation in Treaty 8 territory in Northern Alberta // Co-curator

jaye simpson is an Oji-Cree Trans Femme Two Spirit warrior & writer whose roots hail from the Sapotaweyak & Skownan Cree Nation, Treaty 2 & 4 Territory in Manitoba // Podcast Co-curator

Emily Dundas Oke is a grateful Cree, Métis, Scottish, and English visitor on the unceded and ancestral territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations // Co-curator and organizer

Karmella Cen Benedito De Barros is an Afro-Indigiqueer Nehiyaw/Cafuzo, with Afro-Brazilian and Mistawasis Cree ancestry. Currently a Youth Counsellor, Multi-Media Artist and finishing up her BA in Counselling Psychology and Education at SFU; Karmella is motivated to expand the space within academia for decolonial world views, while prioritizing the support and uplifting of BIPOC communities through creative healing. // Co-curator and Podcast Publisher

Many thanks to Jónína Kirton for co-hosting the first two events, and for first collaborating with Patricia Massy to make this series a reality. This series wouldn’t exist today without her love, dedication, and work. Jónína is a Métis/Icelandic poet, author & facilitator who was born in Treaty 1 and is a descendant of French, Scottish and English fur-traders, her Indigenous ancestry includes Swampy Cree, Ojibwe, Assiniboine, Nakota and Sekani.

Image credit: Silvey Sampson, Indigenous Brilliance Cover Art, 2020

Past Events

Vancouver Art Gallery: Art Connects Spring Reading with Indigenous Brilliance Shuvinai Ashoona

April 17th, 2020 through Art Connects Selina Boan Tyler Pennock Kaitlyn Purcell Emily Dundas Oke

Hosted by Melissa Karmen Lee and Stephanie Bokenfohr


Indigenous Brilliance Podcast Episode 1: Creation Story

February 27th, 2020

The Indigenous Brilliance Podcast is an important project of the larger Indigenous Brilliance Collective, and features innovative and exciting episodes, highlighting the multi-disciplinary voices of Indigenous women, Two-Spirit, and Indigiqueer artists as we discuss cultural resurgence in Indigenous arts. Hosted by creatives jaye simpson and Karmella Benedito De Barros, the Indigenous Brilliance Podcast carves out space for the celebration and witnessing of this beautifully visionary community.


May 24th, 2019 at Massy Books

Cassandra Blanchard Evan Ducharme Mackenzie Ground Savannah Erasmus

Hosted by Jaye Simpson, Emily Dundas Oke and Massy Arts


August 22nd, 2019 at Massy Books

Tristin Greyeyes Beric Manywounds Bo Dyp, Michelle Porter

Hosted by Jaye Simpson


Open link on new tab on the Mount Pleasant Community Art Screen

Curated by Jessica Johns.

Room magazine and Indigenous Brilliance are proud to showcase the brilliant work of ten Indigenous women, Two Spirit, and Indigiqueer artists in open link in new tab.