As a young Indigenous woman, Mataya Gillis never felt that her voice was being heard.
Gillis hopes to “fight the stigma” when it comes to respecting the thoughts, feelings and opinions of youth.
“You can learn from other people’s stories,” says Gillis, co-founder of Nipatur̂uq magazine.
Teen girls, Gillis and Cassidy Lennie-Ipana created the magazine to highlight those issues and themes significant to Inuvialuit youth.
Nipatur̂uq means to have a loud voice or to speak loudly.
“We didn’t think we would be here, three issues later,” says Gillis.
“It’s only the beginning and we’ve already made a huge impact,” she adds.
The girls have even added a third volunteer to the operation since its inception in 2019.
So far the three editions of the magazine have focused on what being Inuvialuit means to youth, climate change and mental health.
“Expect the truth,” says Gillis.
Commemorating culture through media
Just over a year ago, the Inuvialuit Living History project inspired the girls to fuse their talents together and create the magazine to commemorate culture.
Now Nipatur̂uq has landed $25,000 in funding from Canadian Roots Exchange to continue publishing.
“This initiative will strengthen community relations, enhance the leadership skills of youth and create a positive community impact,” says Alyssa Luttenberger, associate director of granting for Canadian Roots Exchange.
The money will go towards printing costs, shipping, honorariums and merchandise.
A helping hand
Gillis says the Inuvialuit Communications Society (ICS) has helped mentor and teach the girls everything they know about publishing, sharing their resources and printing services in Toronto.
“Nipatur̂uq is refreshing,” says Tamara Voudrach, manager of ICS.
Voudrach also describes the girls as fiery and inspiring.
It’s thrilling to watch their growth, she says.
Gillis remembers when her grandmother was a former editor of ICS magazine Tusaayaksat and how much that inspired her to follow in her footsteps.
Looking into the future
Gillis hopes to take a year off after graduation, leaving the magazine in the hands of the ICS.
Assuming the COVID-19 pandemic has been contained she hopes to pursue a career in journalism and maybe one-day politics.
Currently, Nipatur̂uq is hosting a design challenge for all Inuvialuit artists to create a logo for the magazine.
The design will be featured in the next issue.
Submissions are due, at midnight on, Oct. 31., here.
Readers can find Nipatur̂uq on Apple Books.
The fourth edition will be available in November.