This is the second in a series of blogs focused on showcasing some of our favourite Native Canadian Art in the Discover Northern Dene Adult Colouring Book!
Meeting the first Dene artist
The first artist I met when I started looking for Indigenous local artists around Calgary was Michael Fatt. Michael is a Chipewyan artist from Lutsel’ke, a small fly-in community near Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. I first saw Michael’s art in a native shop called Moonstone Native Gallery following a recommendation by its owner Yvonne. When I first saw Michael’s art, I was overjoyed because his style includes dark lines and distinct shapes that would convert very well to a colouring image. Michael was looking for help to better promote his artwork and was happy to collaborate on the book.
Meeting the second Dene artist
Michael has always had a big heart and he is always helping others, including introducing artists to me. Through him, I met Christiana Latham. Christiana is the second artist featured in the Dene Adult Colouring book and a member of the Gwich’in Nation. A graduate of ACAD, Christiana had never sold a piece of artwork when I met her so we were very excited about the possibilities.
Finding the elder
I asked both artists if they knew any Dene elders but they didn’t have anyone to refer me to. After a few searches online, I found and purchased a book by Dene elder George Blondin called “Yamoria – the Lawmaker: Stories of the Dene”. It was perfect because it included stories from various Dene elders that M. Blondin had compiled during his trips. The intent of his books was to preserve their stories and teachings. I found that the foreword had been written by M. Blondin’s son Ted and it listed the place he worked. I was able to get in touch with him to explain the project, and ask if he liked the idea. I also got the chance to share the idea with him and his sisters during one of his trips to Edmonton. Thankfully, they liked the project and gave me permission to make the book.
Dene Language and Culture
The book also includes some quotes from other elders in Dene language. This is thanks to the permission of the Saskatchewan Indigenous Cultural Centre. This was very important to me as I really wanted to include some Indigenous language in the book. We need to keep our languages alive! Thank you also to the Gwich’in Tribal Council’s Department of Cultural Heritage who reviewed the book.
Every colouring book purchased will provide royalties to the artists and elder’s legacy. It also puts aside funds to support Northwest Territories artists with improving their businesses.
You can buy the Dene Adult Colouring Book HereFind Out More About The Northern Dene Nation Colouring Book