Waubgeshig Rice

Country of Origin:

Canada

Themes:

Aboriginal Issues, Identity & Heritage, Multiculturalism & Diversity

Photos:

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Bio

Waubgeshig Rice is a broadcast journalist and an author originally from Wasauksing, Ontario. He developed a strong passion for storytelling as a child, hearing stories and teachings from elders in his home community about his Anishinaabe background. As a teenager, he began writing about some of the unique experiences of growing up on a reserve in Canada. He got his first taste of journalism at the age of 17 as an exchange student in northern Germany, when he sent articles about his experiences there to Canadian newspapers. Upon return, he studied journalism at Ryerson University in Toronto, where he received his Bachelor of Journalism in 2002. He has worked in a variety of media since, but has focussed on broadcasting. He was reported for CBC News across the country and has produced radio and television documentaries for the national public broadcaster. He currently works as a video journalist for CBC Ottawa. His debut collection of short stories, Midnight Sweatlodge, was published in 2011 by Theytus Books. It has won numerous awards, including an Independent Publisher Book Award in 2012.

Story

I grew up in a community called Wasauksing First Nation, near Parry Sound, Ontario. I was born to an Anishinaabe father and a Canadian mother. Growing up a mixed-blood person in Canada in the 1980s and 90s was both a very rewarding and sometimes difficult experience. I knew I came from two very distinct cultural backgrounds that didn't always get along. However, although I grew up on the reserve, the families I came from on both sides taught me the important gifts of unity, understanding, respect and love. I think those are integral lessons for all Canadians in moving forward to create a positive experience for everyone.

Because I grew up in my community, I learned about the Anishinaabe culture through stories. I developed a passion for storytelling early, and began to write about some of the experiences I saw happening in the community around me in my spare time. I saw it as a way to hone my skills as a storyteller, and to do my part to capture our culture.

When I was 17, I went on a year-long student exchange to northern Germany. While there, I sent articles about my unique experiences as an Indigenous teen in Europe to newspapers back in Canada. That was my first taste of journalism, and when I returned, I applied to Ryerson University's Bachelor of Journalism program. I graduated with my degree in 2002, with a focus on broadcast journalism.

I've worked in a variety of media since. I became a full-time reporter with the Weather Network in Mississauga, Ontario in 2004. I moved to CBC in Winnipeg in 2006. Since then, along with reporting on the news, I've produced television and radio documentaries and features for CBC. I currently work as a video journalist for CBC Ottawa.

Getting back to those stories I wrote as a teen - in 2011 I fulfilled my lifelong dream of becoming a published author. My debut collection of short stories called Midnight Sweatlodge was published by Theytus Books. The stories explore the young Indigenous experience in Canada, and some of the unique struggles these youth endure. It has won a number of awards, including an Independent Publishers Book Award in 2012.

I look forward to sharing more stories through Passages to Canada!