This is the first in a series of blogs focused on showcasing some of our favourite Native Canadian Art and artists in the Blackfoot Adult Colouring Book!
Learn ancestral Blackfoot teachings
You will enjoy learning about Native Canadian Art and Blackfoot traditional wisdom shared by Blackfoot elder Camille Pablo Russell while you add vibrant colour to the beautiful pieces of Blackfoot First Nation art by Kalum Teke Dan and Ryan Jason Allen Willert.
This was the first book in our Colouring Book series. I was very fortunate to find Blackfoot artist Ryan Jason Allen Willert at the beginning of my project. He introduced me to his elder Camille (Pablo) Russell as well as to Blackfoot artist Kalum Teke Dan. Ryan is originally from Siksika Nation and Pablo and Kalum are from the Kainai (Blood) Nation. Those are two of the three Blackfoot nations in southern Alberta, with the third being Piikani (Peigan) Nation.
Ryan not only helped me to find the other collaborators in the book but also explained a bit of the protocol to me. Since I am not Blackfoot, it was very important to find out what the protocol was to work with a Blackfoot elder.
How did the book get created?
Ryan and Kalum shared pictures of their original colour artwork with me and I converted the images into black and white. I gathered the artwork and the artists’ meaning behind each piece and submitted the art to Pablo. He reviewed it and then wrote some teachings and stories that came to him from the artwork. We also decided to put some teachings from Pablo’s book “Path of the Buffalo – Medicine Wheel”.
Should I be my own publisher?
Then I needed to figure out if I wanted to find a publisher or become my own publishing company. Having looked at some of the submission requirements and the time involved in waiting for the publishing company’s review, I decided to be a self-publisher. This meant I also would not have any assistance with paying for the design, the editing, printing, marketing or sales. Since I had never had my own business I had to learn everything from scratch.
How did I get the books into stores?
My husband and I ended up driving all over the province to visit schools, bookstores, trading posts, and native organizations. We also attended conferences and pow wows to show them the book and make some sales. It was published in November 2016 and translated to French in 2017.
What project does the book support?
It was not until the summer of 2017 that I found the project that the Blackfoot colouring book was going to support. It is the “Children are our sacred Bundle” conference project organized and led by Karen English. Karen is a former social worker turned entrepreneur from Piikani Nation. Since then, the book has supplied sponsorship for four conferences in Calgary, Edmonton and Osoyoos.
I hope you enjoyed reading how the first book got made and will consider purchasing one to support the project!Find Out More About The Blackfoot Nation Colouring Book Here