Call for pitches: Geez 39, Decolonization

Site of Canada’s longest-standing blockade in defense of traditional land use, and in opposition to clearcut logging,  Asubpeeschooseewagong First Nation (Grassy Narrows, Ontario). Credit: Howl Media Collective, creative commons, via

This is an open call for articles, images, stories, and photos that help us understand and seek justice for indigenous-settler relations. Circulate widely. See PDF here.

Deadline for pitches March 30, 2015

I am pleased to announce that for our upcoming issue on decolonization we will be working with two guest editors, Leah Gazan and Steve Heinrichs:

Leah Gazan is a member of Wood Mountain Lakota Nation, located in Treaty 4 territory in Saskatchewan. A grassroots activist, Leah has been involved in a variety of social movements, including Idle No More, and is currently leading the #WeCare campaign for missing and murdered Indigenous women. Her passion is the advancement of Indigenous strength, self-determination, and self-sufficiency. Leah is presently teaching in the Faculty of Education at the University of Winnipeg where she helps students grapple with the realities of colonialism and the possibility of authentic, just relationships across cultures.

Steve Heinrichs is a white settler Christian who’s spent years working as an activist, pastor, and advocate for justice alongside indigenous peoples. Based in Treaty 1, Steve is currently the director of indigenous-settler relations for Mennonite Church Canada and the editor of Buffalo Shout, Salmon Cry: Conversations on Creation, Land Justice, and Life Together (Herald Press, 2013).

Call for pitches
We are calling for pitches for an issue of Geez on the topic of decolonization. Decolonization is that process by which we (both settlers and the Indigenous) dismantle our colonial relationships with the land, one another, and the state; a process in which we reimagine and reconstruct those relationships in a way that honours host knowledges, gifts, and sovereignties, not simply with recognition, but also reparation and reciprocity.

Tell stories of fractured relationships
We’re looking for words and images to help readers explore the historically oppressive relationship between Indigenous and settler peoples. Many Geez readers are living in occupied territory, land that’s never been ceded or is under treaty agreements that have never been honoured.

They (and we) recognize the need to change but also feel threatened by the challenge to their (our) worldviews and the potential (real or imagined) threat to property and material comforts.

How can we imagine a new relationship with the land and her host peoples? How can we see this new relationship not only as a challenge, but also as a gift?

Offer stories of resistance and hope
Indigenous peoples have been resisting colonialism for centuries. And surprisingly, small pockets of settler society have joined them – and continue to do so.

We’re looking for words and images that can shake us out of the paralysis of being overwhelmed by past and present divisions. We can live into a better way; stories can inform and inspire us to change. This is a call for stories of individuals and communities that have done it or are seeking to do it.

Additional questions to consider

• If you were to “decolonize your mind,” what would that look like?

• Capitalists see land as property; it can be owned and its “resources” exploited for profit. What are alternative ways of relating to land?

• Shifting allegiances: have you changed your views on the state’s treatment of Indigenous nations/people, on settler-Indigenous relations? Why? How?

•If you could offer an blunt word from an Indigenous perspective to well-meaning but naïve settler Christians in Canada or the U.S., what would that be? Rants welcome.

• What signs of hope have emerged from a history of colonization?

• Christian teachings have been used to support colonization; what about its undoing? Does the Bible offer any strategies for decolonizing in today’s context? Should Christians honour other ways of knowing? Which ones?

Diverse writing welcome
We welcome long-form journalism, personal stories of transformation, short bursts of feelings, and nuggets of insight and inspiration. Pick your aspect of the topic and expand with personal experience, researched wisdom, or spiritual insight.

Note: In a great pitch, you describe the story, explain how it’s a perfect fit for Geez, list the sources you’ll consult, and state why you’re the best person to write it.

Send your pitches by March 30, 2015, see addresses below.

1. Longer non-fiction pieces, length: 650 or 1300 words
We’re looking for creative non-fiction essays, investigative articles, or research-based pieces on the topic above. While a reference to your personal experience is welcome, readers need wisdom from other sources as well (interviews, books, articles, theologians, social-justice activists, academics, and moms and dads). Pitches should be one page, touch on the wider context of your topic, and name at least one other source you will be consulting. Here’s a request: Please think of yourself as a Geez contributing editor. Ask yourself, What would readers who are social-justice oriented and at the fringes of faith want to read on this topic? If your pitch is accepted you’ll usually have three to four weeks to complete the piece.

2. Flash non-fiction, length: 50-350 words
These are short, personal experiences or insights. Your piece should capture a moment that illuminates a larger issue or convey a feeling familiar to us all. This is a chance to bring hope, insight, emotion, and connection to readers. Think of it as a snapshot with words.

3. Photos/illustrations
Consider the topic above and send original photographs (i.e. you took the photo) or illustrations that provoke or pacify, animate or incite. Or, if you know of a photographer or illustrator who can deliver an awesome photo essay or series of drawings and is willing to get big play in a premium little magazine for a modest honorarium, please pass this pitch along.

Tips for pitches
The Geez project is a discussion among people of faith seeking social justice. Our readers and writers express this through art, activism (a creative critique of those in power and the structures that keep them there, the promotion of alternative practices that subvert such powers), contemplation, and a “more-grounded, interconnected” approach to living.

Additional info
Before pitching, please read our guidelines for writers here.
Ideally we would like to respond personally to every piece of correspondence we receive. But given the number of submissions we receive – and having tried to respond to all – we realize it is just not possible. If you do not hear back from us within six weeks assume that we were unable to use your submission.

Deadline for pitches:
March 30, 2015

Approximate deadline for articles (if assigned):
May 4, 2015

Send pitches, manuscripts and images to
Steve Heinrichs, Leah Gazan (guest editors), and Aiden Enns (editor)

Email: stories [at] geezmagazine [dot] org

Mail: Geez magazine

400 Edmonton Street

Winnipeg, Manitoba R3B 2M2

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