More than a hundred people packed Neechi Commons Wednesday night eager for the launch of the second issue of a local magazine geared toward indigenous youth.
Red Rising Magazine is a local magazine made up of indigenous stories and created by a team of volunteers, who accept submissions from the public.
"At the same time there's a balance inside the magazine, which allows people to have a little bit of humour and I think that's really a positive reflection of our community," said Lenard Monkman, co-founder Red Rising Magazine and an associate producer with CBC's aboriginal unit.
Monkman, with the help of others, developed the idea for Red Rising Magazine to provide a platform for indigenous peoples to tell their stories: unfiltered, unskewed, and from their own perspective.
"The magazine is aimed for indigenous youth, but I think that a lot of non-indigenous people will see the benefit in seeing first-hand accounts and stories from indigenous people instead of having to go through the media or other places. So, it's for everyone."
Lisa Strong's work was one of the submissions the magazine accepted, and she says her story was about overcoming personal struggle.
"Talking about how when you're receiving a teaching, it can be difficult but then you go on in life. And, maybe later in life you understand what that teaching's about. About resiliency," she said.
There were 3,000 copies printed of the first issue of Red Rising Magazine, which made its public debut in October.
The founders are inspired by its popularity, especially because it was created by volunteers. They say there were only printing costs, which were covered by fundraising.
The magazine is also featuring voices that are prominent in the indigenous community and beyond.
In this issue, Pamela Palmater, a Mi'kmaq lawyer and activist, contributed work.
"We want people to realize the value in their voices … It's been heard a lot, 'We want youth to be involved, we want youth to be involved' and this is one of the fastest ways they can be involved," said Sadie-Phoenix Lavoie, co-founder of Red Rising Magazine
"It can be a form of healing for people who submit. It could very well be the first time they've shared some of their stories. And also it's just to know that they're important."
The goal is to be an independent indigenous media.
"The vision for it is we can get into video, we can get into web [and] radio, we can inspire the next generation of journalists, writers poets … There's so much untapped potential within the indigenous community," Monkman said.
Red Rising Magazine is available for purchase online at www.redrisingmagazine.ca.