April 26, 2021

Black on the Prairies — powerful, unforgettable, urgent stories about living in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba as a Black and Indigenous person

Interactive website launches Monday at 6 p.m. on CBC.ca
Black on the Praries

Dr. Malinda Smith, vice-provost of the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, is on the advisory board of the new interactive CBC website called Black on the Prairies. The website will launch at 6 p.m. today (April 26, 2021).

Black on the Prairies tells the stories of Black and Indigenous people, young and old — and their communities — who chose the prairies as their home. These storytellers have lived their life under the canopy of big skies and amongst the toiled soil expected to provide life, and with the hard-work ethic that comes from prairie living. And yet their stories are unique, individual, sometimes heart-wrenching, often uplifting and with a sense of urgency to be told and heard in the echo of the Black Lives Matter movement and ongoing acts of racism that are now aired almost daily on video for the world to watch.

“This is an incredibly important project,” says Smith. “We need to talk about what it is like to be Black and live here. These stories must be told.”

According to the website, Black on the Prairies is about “exploring the past, present and future of Black prairie life through the themes of migration, putting in work, Black and Indigenous relations, politics and resistance, and Black to the Future."

Website editors Omayra Issa and Ify Chiwetelu say, “These stories explore the richness complexity, depth and multiplicity of Black prairie life — past, present and future. They highlight achievements and histories that affirm the influence of Black life on the prairies and challenge assumptions about its newness.”

The interactive website includes personal essays, articles, audio stories, images and more. Log on to Black on the Prairies tonight at 6 p.m.