Truth . Youth . Reconciliation
Otahpiaaki is a marketing, entrepreneurship, and social innovation project linked to academic programs in the Bissett School of Business at Mount Royal University. Each year, Otahpiaaki hosts our Indigenous Beauty, Fashion and Design Week. The project is a gesture of reconciliation, inspired by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and their 94 Calls to Action to advance the process of reconciliation and redress the legacy of residential schools. Otahpiaaki engages the principles of equality, partnership, good faith, and mutual respect as outlined in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Otahpiaaki: Indigenous Beauty, Fashion, and Design Week, one of six Otahpiaaki projects, features some of our region’s most inspiring Indigenous artists, designers, and creatives. We believe that the work of reconciliation is for neighbours and that important conversations and teachings can be shared through creative and artistic practices.
Using the week as a platform for exchange and education over the next seven years, our goal is to invite and contribute to significant social, cultural, restorative, and economic reconciliation across reserves, communities, regions, and territories by promoting, protecting, and providing resources and capacity-building using a seed-to-runway model. We emphasize explorations of deep beauty, bold Nation-to-Nation exchange, enhanced industrial design policy and law, and new routes to global markets. We are in search of wise practices and excellence. We work with humility.
A Greeting From Our Elder
Niitsiikohtaahsitaak Ni no’ohk Ohko’tsitssspomissta’shs annohk aamo Otahpiaakii. Niitspomowiyaiamoksi aissksinima’tssa asitapiiks kii otaissksinima’stoki aaki. Anoom O’mahkitaissksima’tstahkio’p, iikstaiya mukko ostistapistimya Kaanai’sitapii o’paitapisinni.
Kimmooksi Ni’taispomowiya a’kohko’tsiik Itapso’kapi Ma Otapi’ssinni Assaiyaa’ak o’ttsisstapitsim Kaanaistitapi’ o’paitapisinni, a’kohko’tsiiinni’yimmokiyiwaa . Iiksoka’pii.
Pooksinawaakii (Little Chief Woman)
Piikani/ Aakainawa (Kainai)
Greetings to All.
This is (Little Chief Woman), Jeannie Smith-Davis. I am from the Lone Fighters Clan of the Piikani. I married my husband (Many Offerings) Wesley Davis, and through this transferred into the Fish Eaters Clan from Akainai.
I am very honored to have been asked to be part of the consultation with the Otahpiaaki Project. I consulted with the students and their teacher Patricia May-Derbyshire from Mount Royal University – the Bissett School of Business, on their desire to understand Indigenous ways so that they, in turn, would transfer this knowledge in a respectful way through the Otahpiaaki Project. It is good.
Piikani/ Aakainawa (Kainai)
B.A., B. Ed., M. Ed. (Cultural Consultant)
Otahpiaaki is a gesture and expression of reconciliation
We thank Spirit River L. Striped Wolf for naming this project in 2016 when it was founded, and for sharing and leading our vision that the work of reconciliation is for neighbors. In his own words, “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.”
We also acknowledge with gratitude our Elders Jeannie Smith Davis and Roy Bear Chief and honour Justice Murray Sinclair, Dr. Marie Wilson, Chief Wilton Littlechild from the TRC We are humbled by those impacted by residential schools and their legacy who gave testimony and who continue to share the truth of the legacies of colonization and oppression in Canada and their healing journeys.