Junior Canadian Ranger wins Indigenous writing award

A Junior Ranger and a Ranger with Ontario Lieutenant-Governor Elizabeth Dowdeswell.
Junior Ranger Nova Gull received a James Bartleman Indigenous Youth Creative Writing Award from Ontario Lieutenant-Governor Elizabeth Dowdeswell in a ceremony held at Queen’s Park in Toronto in December. Photo: Sergeant Peter Moon, Canadian Rangers

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By Sergeant Peter Moon, 3rd Canadian Ranger Patrol Group

A last-minute submission for a writing competition won a Junior Canadian Ranger from the remote Cree community of Peawanuck in Northern Ontario a prestigious Indigenous writing award.

“I’d written a couple of poems before,” said Junior Ranger Nova Gull, 16. “And then I wrote (my winning entry) and everyone liked it. At the last moment, we decided to enter it for the competition.”

That required typing it out and emailing it to Timmins, Ont., where it was printed and rushed to a mailbox just before the midnight deadline for entries.

“Nova’s poem ‘Where’s Our Voice?’ highlights the lack of attention towards Indigenous issues,” said the citation for her winning entry, “and aims to bring awareness to what has happened to Indigenous people in Canada.”

Her poem was one of five entries that received a James Bartleman Indigenous Youth Creative Writing Award from Ontario Lieutenant-Governor Elizabeth Dowdeswell in a ceremony held at Queen’s Park in Toronto in December.

Nova’s father, Matthew Gull, the Canadian Ranger sergeant commanding the Ranger patrol in Peawanuck, was at the ceremony along with her grandfather Moses Gull, and other members of her family, including her sister, Aurora, 14, who won a similar award last year.

“I’m very proud,” Sergeant Gull said. “I’m proud of my kids. They are also both Junior Canadian Rangers.”

Nova was invested into the Order of St. George in October 2017 for her dedication to the Junior Rangers. The Order of St. George, the Canadian Priory was founded in 1326, and it helps support military family organizations, Canadian Armed Forces cadets and the Junior Rangers, among other charitable organizations.

She was also appointed an honorary aide-de-camp to the lieutenant governor during her visit in July to Camp Loon, an annual camp that provides specialized leadership training for selected Junior Rangers. The annual awards were created by the Province of Ontario in honour of Mr. Bartleman, who was Ontario’s first Indigenous lieutenant governor from 2002 to 2007.

The recipients each received a scroll and a cheque for $2,500. Asked what she was going to do with the prize money, Nova said: “That’s a secret.”

She and her sister Aurora are attending high school in Timmins.

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