My name is Waubgeshig Rice and I'm Anishinaabe from Wasauksing First Nation, Ontario.
My name means "white sky" in the Ojibway language. I'm also told it refers to the colour of the sky before the sun comes up. It was my great-grandfather's name and I carry it with pride.
My community is on an island on Georgian Bay, across from the town of Parry Sound, Ontario.
Although I was raised on the reserve, I grew up with a foot in both worlds: my father is Anishinaabe and my mother is Canadian.
I learned a lot about being Anishinaabe as a child through the stories my grandmother, aunts and uncles, and developed a passion for storytelling early on. I read a lot as a kid to pass the time on the rez, and I started writing short stories just for fun.
In high school I applied for a year-long exchange program through Rotary International to go to northern Germany.
A community newspaper asked if I wanted to submit essays about my adventures as an Ojibway kid in Germany. That was my first paid journalism gig, and it opened my eyes to a career in the media.
That experience also opened my eyes to the rift between Native and non-Native people in Canada. Many of my friends in Germany were more interested in (and seemed to be more aware of) the Aboriginal plight in Canada than my non-Native peers back home. I realized that was the fault of both the education system and the media in Canada.
I decided the best way to expose mainstream society to rez life was through journalism and I got a degree in that field from Ryerson University.
I worked for four years as a reporter for CBC television in Winnipeg covering health, politics, crime, natural disasters, and the Aboriginal community.
I also began producing CBC Radio's summer series ReVision Quest. I've been fortunate to do one episode every season for the last three years.
I moved back to Ontario in 2010, and after a brief stint working for CBC news in Toronto, moved to Ottawa to work in the newsroom as a videojournalist.
In addition to my daily news duties, I produced an hour-long television documentary this past summer called Capital NDNs. It explores contemporary Aboriginal life in Ottawa.
Finally, those short stories I scribbled on notepads in my bedroom on the rez have come full circle. In June, Theytus Books published my first collection of short fiction called Midnight Sweatlodge. The book explores some of the unique challenges and issues faced by young Aboriginal people in Canada. Read a Q&A about this book.
Now, I'm happy to explore more of these stories in the 8TH Fire Digital Project.