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Otahpiaaki 2019: Indigenous Beauty, Fashion & Design Week

Ísstoíyítahsinni//Winter Count


Tickets now on sale…

Ísstoíyítahsinni - Winter Count: Celebrations of Visual Sovereignty, Story, and Design Couture Runway.

9 November. 6:00pm. Central Library.

6:00pm - Doors

6:30pm - Pre-show

7:30pm - Standing Showcase featuring Livia Manywounds (Tsuut'ina First Nation), MOBILIZE (Dusty LeGrande, Cree) and Melrene Saloy-Eaglespeaker (Kainaiwa). On the runway: Heather Crowshow Couture (Piikani Nation), The Chief’s Daughter (Karli Crowshoe,Piikani Nation) Faith Starlight (Cree/Stoney Whitefish First Nation), Carol Mason (Kainai Nation), Tobi Davis (Kainaiwa & Piikani Nations),Heather Bouchier (Beardy's & Okemasis First Nation), White Otter Design (Jaymie Campbell, Anishinaabe, Curve Lake First Nation), Faye Thomas (Cree, Pelican Lake First Nation),and Martha Kyak (Pond Inlet, Nunavut).

Click to purchase Saturday here!

Celebrations of Indigenous Language Runway with Jeremy Dutcher & the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra.

8 November. 6:00pm. Arts Commons.

6:00pm - Doors

6:30pm - Fashion Seating

6:45pm - Runway featuring Evan DuCharme (Métis, Cree, Ojibwe, and Saulteaux) and LUXX Ready-to-Wear (Derek Jagodzinsky, Whitefish Lake First Nation).

7:30pm - Jeremy Dutcher Concert


8:30pm - Standing Showcase featuring Section 35 (Justin Louis, Maskwacis Samson Cree Nation) and OXDX (Jared Yazzie, Diné Navajo).

Click to purchase Friday here!


Oki. Âba wathtech. Dadanast’ada. Tansi. Bozhoo. Siyo. Halito.

We welcome you to Otahpiaaki 2019: Ísstoíyítahsinni//Winter Counts - Celebrations of Indigenous Language Through Visual Sovereignty, Story & Design.

We are honoured once again to be a gathering place for a host of Indigenous fashion designers, artists, musicians, and performers showcasing and celebrating indigenous beauty in all of its forms – intellectual, physical, emotional,and spiritual. Our runway in Mohkinstsis/Calgary takes place at the newly opened, state-of-the art Central Public Library and will feature designer ateliers + literary features on each floor.

In our fourth and final year at MRU, we are focused on iihpkim mootspi (Blackfoot) -- passing on the teachings that one has received, to communities in the hopes that Otahpiaaki-inspired projects will blossom in many Nations under the guidance of a new generation of community-based producers, creatives, educators, and Elders. Otahpiaaki 2019 will take on a slightly different format as we engage in sahpahtsimah (Blackfoot) -- collaborating in a good way. Our goal is to share the knowledges we have gained as a team to support and promote capacity in (3) other communities in Treaty 8, Treaty 6, and Treaty 7 outside of Mohkinstsis.

It is also the International Year of Indigenous Languages (United Nations), a year to raise awareness of the consequences of the endangerment of Indigenous languages across the world, and an opportunity to establish links between Indigenous language, lifeways, justice, balance, truth, and reconciliation. The theme Winter Count encourages and platforms the stories in designers’ collections and their visualizations of language and message in pattern, form, and action.

Otahpiaaki 2018: Standing Showcase. Designer: Shana Pasapa. Photo: Kelly Hofer. Styling: PARK.

Otahpiaaki 2018: Standing Showcase. Designer: Shana Pasapa. Photo: Kelly Hofer. Styling: PARK.

Otahpiaaki 2018: Friday Runway. Designer: Catherine Blackburn. Photo: Kelly Hofer. Styling: PARK.

Otahpiaaki 2018: Friday Runway. Designer: Catherine Blackburn. Photo: Kelly Hofer. Styling: PARK.


This is about Indigenous artists becoming economic leaders in Canadian Society.
This is about Indigenous artists becoming their own and owning what’s theirs.
This is about activism and reconciliation.
— Spirit River Striped Wolf (Piikani Nation)

Applications 2019

Designer applications are now closed.



An Indigenous Resurgence. An Indigenous Renaissance.

For Siksikaitsitapi (—the Blackfoot Confederacy), Ísstoíyítahsinni, the Winter Count was a visual way of reckoning time, of keeping a record of significant stories and happenings with insights into the importance of these events for the Nations’ people. It included the Elders and traditional people who illustrated the hides, and their feelings. The Winter Count embodied Ihstipaitapiyiop, Blackfoot teachings of ‘all we have been given’. All of these things were ‘carried with it’.

The old people who carried this knowledge include Ekistanopatki (Mrs. Buffalo), Sisinaki (Mrs. Many Guns), John Yellowhorn, and Billy Strikes with a Gun. Albert Moustache Sr., Joseph Crowshoe Sr. and his wife Josephine also helped. Allan Pard, and Leonard Bastine published this knowledge at the Oldman River Culture Centre in 1979, as it shared with and written down by Paul Raczka. We thank Duane Mistaken Chief for sharing his on-going knowledge of the language.

Language revitalization is fundamental for the survival of traditional ways. Language is the very foundation of Indigenous culture, a culture is expressed through language. Language is understanding, understanding of our ancestors, ways of life, and traditions rooted in the love from Creator. Language is life and we must work hard to protect it. Language is intimately tied to the land. With the loss of land, ways of speaking about the lands and their resources are lost.

The Indigenous Creative Movement is exploding. More designers, artists and performers are raising their voices through a mix of traditional and contemporary art forms stemming from justice, resilience, and resistance. Artists, designers, musicians, & writers are leading the resurgence of Indigenous-led creative projects, innovating with revolutionary visions. - TARYN HAMILTON (BARREN LANDS FIRST NATION)

In Blackfoot, Otahpiaaki describes the moment when the sole and vamp of the moccasin are bound together. We believe that the work of reconciliation is for neighbours and that important conversations and teachings can be shared through creative and artistic practices. Our project is a gesture of reconciliation inspired by Call-to-Action #83, where Indigenous and non-Indigenous creatives work together in Sapatsimapi (Blackfoot) — collaborating in a good way.

Our Gratitude: