Colouring It Forward is more than a colouring book. Through a series of books 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
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
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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@example.com. New ideas and projects are always welcome!
Join the Conversation
Colouring It Forward is a gathering place for all of us — please share your art, your journaling and your stories of hope and dreams for a better future on my Facebook and Instagram pages.
November 22, 2016 – Colouring It Forward Discover Blackfoot Nation Art and Wisdom will be launched at Mount Royal University @ 7 p.m. — further details will be available around November 1.
November 26 and 27, 2016 – Colouring It Forward books and original Blackfoot art available at Market YYC Books and art to be sold at Market YYC Eau Claire Market, Calgary.
December 3 and 4, 2016 – Colouring It Forward books and original Blackfoot art available at Market YYC Books and art to be sold at Market YYC Eau Claire Market, Calgary.
Ready to colour? Create your own pieces of art by purchasing a book and adding your own touch to these beautiful images. Journal while learning about First Nations culture and wisdom.