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Year of Indigenous Languages

Winter Counts


What’s Next? 


It is with pleasure that we welcome you to Otahpiaaki 2019: Winter Counts, the Year of Indigenous Languages. In our fourth and final year we are focused on iihpkim mootspi (Blackfoot)-- passing on the teachings that one has received, to communities in the hopes that Otahpiaaki will blossom in many Nations under the guidance of emerging Indigenous creatives, educators, and Elders.

It is the Year of Indigenous Languages, a year to raise awareness of the consequences of the endangerment of Indigenous languages across the world, an opportunity to establish links between language, peace, truth, and reconciliation. As such, the theme Winter Counts is meant to encourage and platform the stories in the designers’ collections and visualizations of language and message in pattern, form, and action.

The United Nations has declared 2019 the Year of Indigenous Languages! There are over 60+ Indigenous languages spoken in Canada. Indigenous languages are struggling to survive, of these only Cree, Inuktitut, and Ojibway have a large enough population of fluent speakers to be considered viable to survive in the long term. The number of fluent speakers are declining and some languages are on the verge of becoming extinct.

“Languages around the world continue to disappear at an alarming rate. With this in mind, the United Nations declared 2019 the Year of Indigenous Languages in order to raise awareness of them, not only to benefit the people who speak these languages, but also for others to appreciate the importance contribution they make to our world’s rich cultural diversity.”

-International Year of Indigenous Languages.

To learn about The United Nations initiative please visit:


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We’re on the Resurgence of an Indigenous Renaissance

Language revitalization is fundamental for the survival of our traditional ways. Language is the very foundation of our culture, our culture is expressed through language. Our language is our understanding, understanding of our ancestors, way of life, and traditions rooted in the love from Creator-our language is our life and we must work hard to protect it.

The Indigenous Art Movement is blooming where Creatives are finding their voice through a mix of traditional and contemporary art forms stemming from resilience and resistance. Artists, designers, musicians, & writers are leading the resurgence of Indigenous lead creative & innovative projects with revolutionary visions.


Memories from our Last Fashion Week!

Developed by a team of Blackfoot Elders, students, and faculty from Mount Royal University, OTAHPIAAKI 2018: PRIDE & PROTEST presented 33 Indigenous fashion designers, artists and creators from 18 Nations across Turtle Island.

The Project is anchored to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s call to action #83, OTAHPIAAKI’s goal is to invite and contribute to significant social, cultural, restorative, and economic reconciliation through First Nations, Indigenous communities and territories by promoting, protecting, and providing resources and capacity building using a ‘seed-to-runway’ social enterprise model.

Three pride & protest fashion showcases featured acclaimed Indigenous designers Angel Aubichon (Peepeekisis & Flying Dust First Nation); Catherine Blackburn (English River First Nation); Helen Oro (Bear Creek & Pelican Lake Nation); Derek Jagodzinsky (Whitefish First Nation); Justin Louis (Maskwacis - Samson Cree Nation); Jamie Medicine Crane (Piikani & Kainai Nation); and Sage Paul (English River First Nation).

“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,” says co-founder Spirit River Striped Wolf (Piikani Nation).