Growing up, Lisa Charleyboy loved flipping through glossy magazines, especially the fashion variety, but didn’t see herself reflected in them. So the young woman with an entrepreneurial spirit from Alexis Creek First Nation in B.C set out to fix that.
Today, with the successful blog Urban Native Girl, the soon-to-be print publication Urban Native Magazine, and regular acting, speaking, and writing gigs under her belt, Charleyboy is now tackling book publishing.
Her first venture, Dreaming in Indian, a collaborative zine-like YA title edited by Charleyboy and Mary Beth Leatherdale, was published in 2014 by Annick Press. Filled with stories, poems, photos, comics, and art from across Turtle Island, the book collects first-hand accounts from aboriginal people that directly challenge stereotypes, including a city-dwelling CEO who reconnects with nature through hunting, and a 15-year-old girl who worked in the sex trade. One of Charleyboy’s contributions is a photo of her walking barefoot through downtown Toronto wearing a 1920s Mohawk buckskin wedding dress. She says it’s her way of fighting invisibility.
“While I do have an online magazine and I’m a writer and have some of that journalism background, I don’t really have this long history of thinking things having to be done a certain way, or they should look like this, or they should look like that,” she says. “I just know what I want to see, and what I wanted to see as a teenager and what I think indigenous youth want to see.” – Hilary Beaumont