Caribou in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Danielle Brigida/Flickr
Xàgots’eèhk’ǫ̀ Journal – a collaborative project between Aurora College, Hotiì ts’eeda and the Dechinta Centre for Research and Learning – has extended its submission deadline.
The journal plans to feature caribou stories in its fall 2023 issue, the second it has published since its creation last year. The new deadline for submissions is June 1.
Jessica Davey-Quantick, the journal’s new managing editor, and Sara Komarnisky, health and community research chair at the Aurora Research Institute, told Cabin Radio the second – like the first – is meant to be an open space for conversation on a topic important to northerners.
Xàgots’eèhk’ǫ̀ – roughly pronounced ha-GOAT-seh-ko – means having a campfire in Tłı̨chǫ. In the below short audio clip, you can hear Elder Rosa Mantla pronouncing the journal’s name.
The caribou issue will be co-edited by John B Zoe and Wanda McDonald.
Davey-Quantick said topics will range from hard science on caribou herd health, sustainability and recovery efforts to contributions about the cultural importance of caribou, such as recipes or stories about the importance of caribou to a family.
“We are looking … to bring together and give a voice to those people who might be feeling like, ‘What do you want us to do about it?’ or feeling a little powerless,” Davey-Quantick said, explaining the journal is meant to be a “gathering place” for knowledge.
The journal isn’t just for Western academic articles but is also a digital home for narrative stories and interviews, Davey-Quantick said, giving the examples of videos, poetry, visual art, and book and literature reviews.
“We wanted to ground it in the North, and be the kind of thing that people here want to read and could see themselves contributing to,” Komarnisky said.
When people submit a piece of work or an idea – either by calling or emailing Davey-Quantick, or through the journal’s online submission portal – they can choose whether or not they want their work to be relationally reviewed.
Komarnisky explained that a relational review expands on peer review to include not just scholarly scrutiny but also lived experience and other forms of expertise. In practice, this means work in the journal is reviewed by at least two people with different types of knowledge.
“Our [editorial] committee actually has Elders, community members, and other people on it with different perspectives and ways of knowing. So that can be built right into the structure of this thing, that this is a conversation we’re having – not a one-way street, not an engagement session,” said Davey-Quantick.
The journal is then structured to indicate if work has been reviewed or not.
While peer-reviewed journals don’t traditionally stray far from academia, Komarnisky said more and more journals are starting to do what Xàgots’eèhk’ǫ̀ does and incorporate different ways of teaching, sharing, and doing research.
Komarnisky believes the first issue, which she co-edited, was seen as both welcoming and rigorous, filled with “quality information that somehow felt inviting to read.”
“I was really, really happy to hear that, because I think that was exactly the vibe we’re going for,” she said.
The journal’s third issue will address the topic of “living well.”
That issue, in the spring of 2024, will focus on health, wellness and “being in balance in body, mind, and spirit,” according to the journal’s website. Submissions for that issue close on October 1.