SFU Publishing establishes endowment in name of first Indigenous graduate
By Suzanne Norman
SFU's Publishing Program has established a new endowment in recognition of its first Indigenous graduate of the master of publishing program (MPub). The Greg Younging Publishing Award Endowment aims to create a fully funded opportunity for an Indigenous student to complete the degree at SFU.
Younging began his work on his influential book, Elements of Indigenous Style: A Guidebook for Writing By and About Indigenous Peoples, during his studies at SFU. The guide is fast becoming a staple for writers, editors, and publishers throughout North America.
“Greg was a huge presence in publishing in Canada,” says Suzanne Norman, industry liaison for SFU’s Publishing Program. “We worked very closely with him here at SFU and following his passing on May 3, 2019, we knew we wanted to establish something lasting that would further his life’s work, which was to build a stronger Indigenous publishing infrastructure in Canada.
“Greg was very aware of the opportunities that education can provide, and we hope this endowment will be one of those opportunities. Having the support of publishers from across the country has been affirming. We are thrilled to announce our first multi-year commitment: a three-year, $45,000 donation from Penguin Random House of Canada.”
The endowment will be built over the next three years, with the goal of welcoming the first recipient in the fall of 2025.
The Master of Publishing Program is an 18-month professional program comprising academic and professional experiential learning. It was founded 25 years ago in consultation with members of the Canadian publishing industry, which continues to strongly support the program’s students through hosting professional placements and as new hires, as well as teaching as guest faculty and serving on advisory boards and funding projects. Applications to the MPub close each Feb. 1, with successful applicants beginning their studies in the fall.
About Greg Younging
Greg Younging was a nationally and internationally known expert on Indigenous publishing, and a tireless voice and advocate for raising Indigenous voices in Canada, and more broadly known for his book, Elements of Indigenous Style: A Guidebook for Writing By and About Indigenous Peoples.
His reputation in Canada as a leading scholar in Indigenous Studies often led him to take on important but sometimes very difficult work, including as assistant director of research for the Canadian federal government's Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) of Canada.
Greg’s passion for making more space for Indigenous writing and publishing led him to complete a PhD focusing on copyright and Indigenous stories. He went on to become a professor and coordinator of the Indigenous Studies Program at the Irving K. Barber School of Arts and Sciences at the University of British Columbia-Okanagan, where he published numerous works, including nonfiction and poetry.
A member of the Opsakwayak Cree Nation, Greg was the managing editor of Theytus Books, Canada’s oldest fully owned Indigenous Publisher from 1990 to 2003, returning to the role in 2016 until his passing.
He has worked for a number of organizations including: The Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, Assembly of First Nations, Committee of Inquiry into Indian Education, and the Native Women's Association of Canada. He was member of the Aboriginal Arts Advisory Committee of the Canada Council (1997–2001) and the British Columbia Arts Council (1999–2001).