Contest seeking Indigenous knowledge keepers, artists and storytellers

·2 min read

Indigenous artists, storytellers, knowledge keepers and those offering Indigenous experiential tourism opportunities are invited to participate in a contest with a chance of developing their own custom virtual reality experience.

The Indigenous-owned ORIGIN has partnered with Uber and the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB) to launch the Share Your Roots VR Competition.

ORIGIN will give away four prizes, each valued at about $35,000. The winners will receive exposure, a one-year CCAB membership and the development of a customized VR experience, according to the announcement.

The contest closes April 5 at 9 a.m.

“The whole idea of this competition is to inspire Indigenous knowledge keepers, storytellers and artists to share their gifts, and we will go to work promoting those across Canada,” ORIGIN’s owner Melissa Hardy Giles said in news release. “This is our opportunity to educate youth, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous. We are currently in 27 school boards in Ontario, representing 1000s of young Canadians just beginning their lives, now is the time to encourage reconciliation.”

According to the contest rules, some of the selection criteria include visual appeal, the practicality of the presented idea, artistic merit and level of motivational messaging.

Last year, ORIGIN teamed up with Indigenous Tourism Ontario (ITO) to support Indigenous businesses and create VR tours as travel restrictions have been put in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The company has a virtual reality-based application, ImmersiveLink, that was created for career exploration and Indigenous cultural awareness and diversity purposes. With Oculus headsets and the app, users will be immersed in 360-degree virtual reality tours.

“Our nations are so diverse,” Hardy Giles said in a statement. “We want to be able to highlight Nations from across this land and demonstrate to Canadians the resilient, vibrant and beautiful cultural experiences that Indigenous people bring to the fabric of our society.”

For more information about the contest, click here.

Dariya Baiguzhiyeva, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter,