Colouring It Forward is more than a colouring book. Through a series of books and calendars about different nations, it creates a forum to tell the other side of the story about Canada’s First Nations people — one of hope and of a different future. It’s also a gathering place for people to share their own stories and their art, and to build a community.
Colouring It Forward helps sustain Aboriginal Artists and their work, and raises funds to support selected First Nations projects. By purchasing a Colouring It Forward book or the art, you are helping to support the artists and one of our selected projects.
Through Colouring It Forward, people will learn more about First Nations’ wisdom and teaching. A series of 4-6 books is planned, each focusing on a different Aboriginal Nation and its art and teachings.
Colouring has become a way to meditate, to leave the stress of the world behind. While enjoying and colouring stunning pieces of original art by recognized Aboriginal Artists, take in the teachings of First Nations Elders.
Meet the Artist
Gwich’in Nation Artist
Christiana Latham is a multidisciplinary artist of Northern Native and British decent. She obtained a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Multimedia Arts and Design Technologies in 2015 and is currently taking printmaking as a minor at The Alberta College of Art and Design. Christiana has exhibited her work in various galleries, and her films have been shown in film festivals worldwide. One of her most recent achievements was the acceptance of her latest film into GAMA (Gallery of Alberta Media Arts) at the Epcor Centre in Calgary in 2016.
Christiana’s film Jingle Dress was also recently accepted into the Imagine Native 11 Media Film Festival in Toronto, Ontario. Several of her paintings and digital artworks have also been published in several Canadian magazines.
She also is a director of Indigeneity Artist Collective Society and has been co-presenting films with the Calgary Society of Independent Filmmakers and DreamSpeakers Film Festival.
Christiana Latham’s current main artistic focus is on film, watercolor and print media. Her artistic endeavours work to challenge personal growth and self-discovery. Christiana’s work has evolved over time but she remains constant in creating culturally explorative pieces that work to connect her past to her present.
Meet the Artist
Chipewyan Nation Artist
Michael Fatt is a Chipewyan Dene from Lutselk’e, a fly-in community near Yellowknife, NWT, located on upper east arm of the Great Slave Lake. Michael’s art has always been a part of his life. As a young child in a foster home, his artistic talent was noticed and he was entered into an art course at the Winnipeg Art Gallery.
He faced much adversity in life and after spending time in and out of jail, he returned to his original community. Here he was inspired to learn more about his people and the stories he listened to and learned to love, helped him evolve his work into a unique style.
His art has been shown at the Moonstone Creation Native Gallery and Gift Shop in Calgary and in several fairs in Banff, Canmore, Morley and Symons Valley Ranch. In late 2016, he also created a live painting, which was auctioned off at Ground Zero Theatre. He has since been teaching workshops in schools and to the public.
Meet the Artist
Kalum Teke Dan
Blackfoot Nation Artist
Kalum is a Blackfoot artist from Calgary who originates from the Blood Tribe in Southern Alberta. He was first inspired to create art by his grandparents, who were known internationally for their bead work and traditional regalia.
Mostly self-taught and working in both oil and watercolour, Kalum has become known for his strong portraiture and his stunning wildlife depictions. His portraits are based on real life people–those who portray the strength and the pride of the People as a whole. He captures the spirit of the animals he paints on canvas. Kalum’s work is in the personal collection of several Canadian Premiers, international leaders and many of Canada’s leading corporations. His work can be found in galleries across Canada and the United States. He has also travelled as far as Europe to share the art and the culture of his people.
Meet the Artist
Ryan Jason Allen Willert
Blackfoot Nation Artist
A full-time artist and storyteller living in Red Deer, Alberta, Ryan was born and raised in Southern Alberta. Although he was brought up in a non-native community, he has since reconnected with his Blackfoot roots (Siksika Nation). Ryan learned the art of black ink drawing from his father Richard (Dicky) Stimson, another well-known Siksika Nation artist.
Among the many exhibitions where he has presented his work are the City of Calgary and Calgary’s Glenbow Museum. Ryan has done readings of his stories in front of large audiences including the Calgary’s Aboriginal Awareness Week at Mount Royal College in 2008. Along with his artwork initiatives, he is sought out as an important role model in the community, especially for youth outreach and inspiration.
Explore the Culture
Northern Dene Nation
The Dene (said Den-ay), are also called the Athapaskan peoples. They live off the land across a vast expanse from Alaska to Northern Canada and all the way to the Southern United States. In the Northwest Territories, the Dene people include the North Slavey, South Slavey, Tłįchǫ (Dogrib), Gwich’in and Chipewyan people.
Explore the Culture
The Blackfoot (or Blackfeet in the United States), are one of the three nations that make up the Blackfoot Confederacy. As of 2016, the Siksika count approximately 7,320 registered members, many of whom live on reserves in Alberta.
Meet the Elder
Dene Nation Elder
The late George Blondin was a Dene Elder born in 1923 in the Northwest Territories. A prolific writer, he was also a wilderness guide, a miner, a trapper, Vice President of the Dene Nation, and in 1989 was elected Chairman of the Denendah Elder’s Council. He was also the author of When the World was New and Yamoria, the Lawmaker.
For his storytelling efforts, Mr. Blondin received the Ross Charles award in 1990 for Native journalism and in 2003, was inducted as a member of the Order of Canada. He was very active in the community and attended political meetings dealing with issues from land protection to employment in the Northwest Territories.
Blondin is best known for collecting and sharing the stories of his people so that future generations of Dene would not forget their stories. He believed deeply in spiritual matters and published three books conveying stories with spiritual themes. The latest, Trail of the Spirit; Mysteries of Dene Medicine Power Revealed, was published in the fall of 2006, and sits on publisher NeWest Press’s bestseller list.
Meet the Elder
Camille Pablo Russell
Blackfoot Nation Elder
Camille Pablo Russell was born on the Blood Reserve in Southern Alberta. His Indian name is Shooting in the Air, and he goes by the name Pablo.
He grew up being very close to his grandparents. It was through them he learned a lot about his roots and traditions.
Following his own vision quests, Russell spent 18 years in Europe before he came back home to help his people in a variety of roles including support worker for the Indian Residential School, an IRS Elder, and an IRS support worker with Treaty 7 Management Corporation.
“All healing, all thanks goes to the Creator. He doctors,” says Pablo.
Over the past 20 years, he has lectured in Europe on Mental Health, Coaching, Traditional Herbs and Leadership Management. His workshops are based on the principle of “Follow the Buffalo”. The buffalo represents to native people the qualities of perseverance, facing the storms of life and walking into them.
Pablo has received much recognition for his work, including a commendation from the government for helping 32,000 people in one year. He is also a recipient of the City of Calgary’s Chief David Crowchild Memorial Award.
Pablo has written The Path of the Buffalo Medicine Wheel, a transcription of the contents of his lectures and workshops. He works days as a spiritual counsellor at the Elbow River Healing Lodge, a unique health care facility dedicated to Aboriginal people, which focusses on the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual approach to health care. He also works in the evenings as a Native coordinator at the Calgary Remand Centre.
Diana Frost – The Inspiration
behind Colouring It Forward
Greetings to all my relations.
As an artist, I have always been drawn to the beautiful imagery and spirituality of Aboriginal art. As an Algonquin Métis, over time I’ve wanted to learn more about my roots. I’ve been searching for a way to both explore more of the wisdom Indigenous people offer and to offer something in return.
My search for a way to connect with my people and to give back turned into the Colouring It Forward project. Each book will be focused on a different First Nation and its artists and teachings. To honour the gifts I have received through this project, a portion of the proceeds of sales will go to the contributing artists and to any elders sharing their wisdom, and to First Nations Projects.
As part of giving back and Colouring It Forward, a portion of the proceeds from sales will be invested in projects led by or opportunities for First Nations people. These projects need to:
- create opportunities for employment
- help with start-up or improve small business
- lead to higher education
If you have a proposal you would like to submit, please provide written details to [email protected]. Your proposal should include:
- Your full details, plus two references
- A detailed explanation of the opportunity, business or educational courses
- Specific outcomes for the project
Further details may be required. Our funding is dependent on sales, with funding likely only being provided to one or two proposals per year.
If you are an an artist who would like to participate in Colouring It Forward, please contact me at [email protected]. New ideas and projects are always welcome!
Join the Conversation
Want to purchase a Colouring It Forward book or calendar?
For locations in Calgary and other areas, please visit my Facebook page @ Colouring It Forward Facebook
October 4, 2017 – Join us for the Women Spirit Walk at Calgary City Hall at 11 am to remember Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls.
October 6, 2017 – Calgary City TV’s Breakfast TV show is hosting Colouring It Forward’s founder Diana Frost to talk about the new calendar at 8:20am.
October 12, 2017 – Join us at the Reconciliation Journey event, Carriage House Inn.
October 21, 2017 – Come out to celebrate the Southern Alberta Indigenous Youth Awards (SAIYA) at Leacock Theatre, Mount Royal University. For more information visit http://www.saiyawards.com/
November 1-2, 2017 – Learn from wisdom keepers and participate in forming projects for reconciliation during the “Children are our Sacred Bundle” Conference 2017, at the Grey Eagle Resort & Casino, Calgary. This is the first grassroots projects supported by Colouring It Forward.
Indigenous Art Calendar
Get your 12″x12″ wall calendar featuring artwork from 14 First Nations, Métis and Inuk artists, elders quotes in indigenous languages and actions for reconciliation. $1 from each calendar will go to Indspire for their indigenous education programs.
Cree Nation – November 2017
Next book – Anishinaabe – May 2018
The Calendar features work by Gwich’in, Chipewyan, Blackfoot, Métis, Inuk, Cree, Anishinaabe, Mohawk, Mi’gmaq, Algonquin and Stoney Nakoda artists and elders.