IndigiNews is thrilled to announce two familiar faces are rejoining IndigiNews. Odette Auger is joining as our new managing editor, and Anna McKenzie is joining as our new communications aunty / senior aunty.
Some of our longtime cuzzins (readers) may recognize Odette and Anna from when they were storytellers with IndigiNews, working across “Vancouver Island” to cover health, and the “child welfare” system, respectively.
Anna and Odette are stepping into new roles that will help steer the direction of the IndigiNews canoe, offering thoughtful and strategic decision-making to our leadership Aunty Council. Through their own unique perspectives, we are excited to have them contribute thorough editorial oversight, as well as ensuring protocols are respected, cultures are understood, and stories are approached with a trauma-informed, Indigenous lens.
Both Odette and Anna will share their intentions in individual reflections in the coming weeks, lending a deeper understanding for our readers of who they are and what guides them in this work. But for now, please meet (or re-meet) our two new team members:
Managing Editor Odette Auger
Odette Auger is Sagamok Anishnawbek through her mother, and currently lives on Klahoose, Homalco, and Tla’amin territories (Cortes Island).
Odette is an innovative storyteller, gentle listener and natural facilitator, which makes her a perfect fit for our managing editor role. Along with journalism, her diverse background includes visual arts, child and youth programming, project management, fundraising and communications. Her writing has appeared in Watershed Sentinel, The Resolve, La Converse, Windspeaker, The Tyee, Asparagus Magazine and APTN National News.
Odette began her journalism path by working on a radio and podcast series that taught the importance of receiving stories from communities and individuals, versus having an idea and going in for a sound bite or quote.
“Inverting that process felt more honourable: What stories do communities want told?” Odette shares.
During the first two years of the pandemic, Odette formalized her skills with a mostly Indigenous cohort in Public Administration and Governance from McGill, while producing artist interviews for Red Waves, and working with IndigiNews.
In the past year, she designed and facilitated a successful Indigenous reporters internship for environmental magazine Watershed Sentinel. This spring, Odette joined Journalists for Human Rights as part of an Indigenous media collaboration focused on solutions reporting on climate change. She was recently chosen for Audible’s Indigenous Writer’s Circle, where she’s excited to write a novel under the mentorship of Angela Sterritt.
“All these experiences led to a lasting love of listening, and story gathering.”
Using her diverse experience outside and within the journalism industry, Odette will help to guide the direction of IndigiNews, and support overall vision and operations.
Communications Aunty & Senior Aunty Anna McKenzie
On her fathers side, Anna McKenzie is a member of the Opaskwayak Cree Nation with Scots Métis roots from “Cumberland House, Saskatchewan.” She grew up in Treaty 7 territory in Mohkinstsis (Calgary) along the borders of the Tsuut’ina Nation. Her mother is a first-generation Canadian whose parents immigrated from England and Ireland.
Anna is a powerful communicator and creative storyteller with the ability to navigate many spaces, which is why she is an ideal communications aunty / senior aunty for IndigiNews.
Growing up urban and largely disconnected from her culture, Anna moved as an uninvited guest to territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh nations to pursue a degree in First Nations and Indigenous Studies at the University of British Columbia. Throughout her degree and after graduation, Anna worked as a communications professional with an Indigenous consultancy firm while working to support Indigenous youth as they “aged out” of the child “welfare” system.
Anna recently decided to take a break from academia, after a difficult first year at the University of Victoria’s joint law program in common law and Indigenous legal orders. She currently resides within the homelands of the Snuneymuxw First Nation with her partner, and three children.
With her background in social media and communications, and having previously been a storyteller with IndigiNews, Anna will be helping to guide IndigiNews emerging with its own distinct voice on our social media, as well as offer strategic and cultural guidance for the digital publication.
Both of these returning storytellers are bringing invaluable expertise and brilliance to our collective vision for IndigiNews, and we are grateful to welcome them in rejoining us.
Keep an eye on our website to learn more about them in the coming days — and make sure to subscribe to our newsletter if you haven’t already for more updates.