If history starts as soon as the minute you’re in passes by, then anyone who writes or makes art can make a history piece, right? That’s what organizers are saying about The Canadian Aboriginal Writing and Arts Challenge.

The contest is an exciting challenge for First Nation, Inuit and Métis writers and artists who are 14–29 years old. If that’s you, you’re invited to submit original writing or visual art that explores any aspect of Canadian Aboriginal history.

The writing part of this competition started in 2005, when nine leading Aboriginal authors from across the country, including Tantoo Cardinal and Tomson Highway, contributed a short story about a defining moment in Aboriginal history.

Their work was published in the book Our Story: Aboriginal Voices on Canada’s Past.

Last fall, the Historica-Dominion Institute decided that writing isn’t the only way to tell a story. An Arts Challenge was developed and will run for the first time this year.

It’s always exciting when someone else gets to see your work. On top of that, the prizes for the challenge are great: first place winners in each age category will receive a $2,000 cash prize, an all-expenses paid trip for two to a major Canadian city to receive the award, and an excerpt from their story published inCanada’s History magazine.

Second place finalists will receive a $1,000 cash prize, and there are cash prizes for up to 10 submissions in each group.

So get out your pens and laptops and paintbrushes and cameras and explore your storytelling skills.

Details and rules are at www.our-story.ca, so you find out what’s required before sending in your work.

The lists of jurors are there, too – see if one of your creative heroes is there (one of ours is: Drew Hayden Taylor!).

Meg Walker is a writer and visual artist living in Dawson City.