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November 2018


Indigenous Beauty, Fashion & Design Week

From November 5th - 10th, 2018 we are proud once again to welcome a host of Indigenous fashion designers, artists, musicians, and performers to  showcase and celebrate Indigenous Beauty in all of its forms. Otahpiaaki 2018 encompasses three nights of couture, streetwear, and modern regalia on the runway, workshops, performances, screenings, and language projects. Indigenous Beauty, Fashion, and Design week is anchored by deeper research on decolonizing the runway, design in nature, capacity-building, and economic reconciliation based on creative practices and traditional teachings. So'kapi!

Each year (see roadmap), 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.

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15 Nations
3 Runways

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.


Angel Aubichon-otahpiaaki
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)
  Featured:   Luxx Ready-to-Wear   Photo: Inner Sense Pictures

Featured: Luxx Ready-to-Wear
Photo: Inner Sense Pictures

  Featured: Brenda Lee Asp Photo: Marshall Dunnet Photography

Featured: Brenda Lee Asp
Photo: Marshall Dunnet Photography

  Featured: Jamie Medicine Crane Earrings: Donna Peeteetuce Photo: Vian Esterhuizen

Featured: Jamie Medicine Crane Earrings: Donna Peeteetuce
Photo: Vian Esterhuizen



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JB the first lady
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BLKFT (Siksika Nation) takes the lead on music direction for Otahpiaaki 2018. "Music has no skin colour, it doesn’t discriminate, it doesn’t worry if your beliefs are the same as my beliefs. Music brings us together and helps us find connection. I think, I hope, and I wish that we’ll have a great show and believe that there are lots of ways during the week to find ways to reconcile." Check out Big Mix from What Will the Neighbours Think, recorded in April 2017 on CJSW 90.9 FM with Kendra Scanlon. 

JB THE FIRST LADY (Nuxalk & Onondaga Nations), rapper and activist, leads our Otahpiaaki live talent line-up for 2018. Check out her new track Still Here (2018) and her thoughts on the ongoing history of protest songs. 

Naát’áaníí Nez Means (Oglala Lakota/Omaha/Dine, Navajo Nation) is a hip hop artist, Oglala Lakota, Omaha, and Diné, born and raised in Chinle, AZ on the Navajo Nation in Arizona. At 11, Naataanii was writing poetry and involved with music, encouraged by his father Russell Means who transferred his gifts and legacies of activism and achievement as the co-founder of the American Indian Movement. Means has been championing Indigenous issues since he began making music in 2009 while studying at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe. Naataanii is a water protector, an occupant at Standing Rock, and most recently at the Mount Music Festival protesting the Kinder Morgan pipeline. His latest album Balance (2018) is available on iTunes.





The Road Forward by Director Marie Clements (Métis) is an electrifying musical documentary that connects a pivotal moment in Canada’s civil rights history—the beginnings of Indian Nationalism in the 1930s—with the powerful momentum of First Nations activism today.

Interviews and musical sequences describe how a tiny movement, the Native Brotherhood and Sisterhood, grew to become a successful voice for change across the country. Visually stunning, The Road Forward seamlessly connects past and present through superbly produced story-songs with soaring vocals, blues, rock, and traditional beats.


Rainbow Warriors (2018)

Jagodzinsky (LUXX Ready-to-Wear) will debut Rainbow Warriors, his fashion film, the night of November 10th within the Calgary Tower. Derek holds a Masters in Industrial Design from the University of Alberta and a Bachelor of Design in Graphic Design. His designs have been featured in the Native Fashion Now exhibit that toured throughout the United States, with the finale at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian.




Otahpiaaki workshops emphasize explorations of deep beauty with design champions and cultural workshop leaders and Elders. We also embrace bold Nation-to-Nation exchange, talks on the topics of enhanced industrial design policy and law, and new routes to global markets.

We invite and strive to 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 our unique seed-to-runway model.


The Workshops

Poo’miikapi Quilt Workshop – Harvesting the Otahpiaaki Indigo Dye
Tuesday November 6th: 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Wednesday November 7th 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Thursday November 8th: 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Elder Carola Jones will share her one-of-a-kind knowledge and stories as a remnant member, daughter, granddaughter, and great-granddaughter of the Tuscarora Confederacy. Participants will learn about the indigo ceremony and protocol and will develop both a small personal project, and a tile for the Otahpiaaki 2018 Community Quilt. Otahpiaaki’s own indigo crops will be used for the project.

 Quilting by Carola Jones.

Quilting by Carola Jones.


Beading & Jewellery Making Circle – One Day Only!
Wednesday November 7th: 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
$10-$20 per piece

With designers from 18 Nations at Otahpiaaki 2018, there are a wide variety of styles of beading, jewelery-making, materials, and handcrafts. Check the website for all artists offering drop-in classes, but expect Hand Rattle Earrings with Tara Sun, Pow Wow Earrings with Tobi Eagle Speaker, and wearable technology accessories with Angel Aubichon.  

 Jewellery by Angel Aubichon.

Jewellery by Angel Aubichon.


Ledger Art Workshop Hosted by John Pepion
Wednesday November 7th: 12:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

This event opens with a short lecture on the history of ledger art and is followed by an art-making session where individuals will make their own ledger art piece based on their own story.

 Artwork by John Pepion.

Artwork by John Pepion.


Activism 101 – Warrior Skirts, Protest Shirts, and Political Posters
Thursday November 8th: 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
$10-$20 per piece

Pick your protest! Tala Tootoosis will fire up the sewing machines to guide you through a ribbon skirt perfect for Pow Wow; Jesse Gouchey returns with his oxidized t-shirts; and our very own Autumn Eagle Speaker will share all she knows about non-violent, high impact protest messaging and posters.

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Rhythm of the People – Spoken Word, Poetry and Hip Hop with Naát'áaníí Nez Means
Friday November 9th: 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Saturday November 10th (Otahpiaaki Pre-show Cipher): 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Free/All Ages

Otahpiaaki is pleased to partner with Indigenous Resilience in Music and Drum Beat Productions for this day of youth mentorship and creativity that explores Indigenous identity, resurgence and activism with Naát’áaníí Means. Develop your voice in circle and with the support of fellow learners and artists.

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The Panels

Courageous: Aksistoiyipaittapiiysinni
Hosted by Riley Kucheran (Ryerson)
Tuesday November 6th: 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Otahpiaaki is pleased to co-present this panel of creatives with Voices – Calgary’s coalition of Two-Spirit and Racialized LGBTQIA+. Being folks with intersectional identities requires finding courageous pathways in pursuit of our goals in our communities. This conversation will explore pride in one’s identities and how intersectional pride cultivates courage, creativity, and growth.


Helping Others: Aispomotsiop
Hosted by Taryn Hamilton (MRU)
Thursday November 8th: 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

dsquaw by Dsqaured2, Reservation Royalty by Party City. Changing the nature of intellectual property law seems like an insurmountable obstacle. Hear directly from designers and artists affected by the theft of their ideas and learn how technology and elders, an unlikely pairing move Indigenous designs into safer spaces, where prerogative, documentation and the ability to license or litigate are made clear to the design and fashion community.


Decolonizing Research: Aistommatop
A Faculty Breakfast Hosted by Ben Barry (Ryerson)
Friday November 9th: 8:30 a.m. – 10 a.m @ the MRU Faculty Centre

Decolonize research, Indigenize research, or both? This panel discusses the ways in which Indigenous and non-Indigenous members of the academy are working through the problematics and opportunities of post-colonial scholarly approaches, including early learning, near misses, and mistakes made while breaking new ground in a variety of disciplines. Tangible examples of artistic production and journal writing will be provided.