As part of the Winnipeg International Writers’ Festival, Métis author Katherena Vermette and Harry Giles, Scottish writer and performer from Orkney, took an "imaginary walk" in Winnipeg, exploring the complex colonial connections between Scotland and Manitoba, and the links that still exist to this day. Their discussion started at Oodena Circle (in Cree/Ojibway ‘’the Celebration Circle’’) making its way to the Selkirk Statues. During their conversation, they were joined by Ko'ona Cochrane-Saber of the Peguis First Nation, who sang to open the discussion.

Katherena Vermette and Harry Giles at Oodena Circle
Katherena Vermette and Harry Giles at the Oodena Celebration Circle

Harry Giles is a writer and performer from Orkney, based in Edinburgh. Their latest publication is Tonguit from Freight Books, shortlisted for the 2014 Edwin Morgan Poetry Award and the 2016 Forward Prize for Best First Collection, and they were the 2009 BBC Scotland slam champion. Harry founded Inky Fingers Spoken Word and co-directs the performance platform ANATOMY; their participatory theatre has toured festivals across Europe, including Forest Fringe (UK), NTI (Latvia) and CrisisArt (Italy); and their performance What We Owe was picked by the Guardian's best-of-the-Fringe 2013 roundup – in the “But Is It Art?” category. 

Katherena Vermette is a Métis writer from Treaty One territory, the heart of the Métis nation, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Her first book, North End Love Songs (The Muses' Company) won the Governor General’s Literary Award for Poetry. Her first novel, The Break (House of Anansi) was shortlisted for the Governor General's Literary Award for Fiction and the Rogers Trust Fiction Prize. Her National Film Board short documentary, This River won the 2017 Canadian Screen Award for Best Short.

Ko’ona Cochrane is an Anishinaabe-kwe member of the Bizhiw Doodem (Lynx Clan) from Peguis First Nation. She has been sharing her traditional teachings for over twenty years, primarily through making and teaching indigenous hand drumming. After studying and working in Ottawa, she returned to Manitoba and obtained an Early Childhood Education diploma from Red River College. Ko’ona lives in the North End of Winnipeg where she works to empower others by developing resiliency for indigenous families and children through health promotion, indigenous issues, community development and through providing cultural programs and supportive services for all nations.