Over the course of 2018, we had been working with Ojibway Elder and Knowledge Keeper Onagottay on a colouring book filled with his artwork and traditional teachings and stories and we are excited to share that the book has been published and is available for purchase! This project was a labour of love that involved many partners coming together to produce this beautiful book that showcases the resiliency of Indigenous languages and cultures.

Onagottay is Ojibway from Lake of the Woods, Ontario, and is a member of the Eagle Clan and the Midewin Lodge. Onagottay is also a successful self-taught artist whose paintings are filled with stories and teachings spiritually given in to him by Creator. Onagottay is also passionate about the revitalization of culture and language in Indigenous communities. For many years, he had a vision of a colouring book of his work that would be fun, healing, and educational. We worked with Onagottay to select which of his many pieces to include in the book and then got to work recording and writing down the stories and teachings associated with each piece. It was such a beautiful process to be a part of.

This project would not have been possible without financial support from Rise Asset Development, an organization providing support services and financing to entrepreneurs who have experienced addictions and/or mental health challenges. Sarah Conway at Rise was a strong support of Onagottay’s work and worked closely with him to develop a business plan for his business, Ho-Wah!.

After receiving funds from Rise, we connected with Diana Frost at Colouring It Forward to publish the book. Colouring It Forward works to advance education of Indigenous issues, arts, cultures and languages through various projects. It was important to all of us that we worked with a publisher who understood Indigenous cultural protocols and had worked on similar projects before.

A very special chi miigwech goes to Maureen Buchanan, a member of the Kingston Indigenous Languages Nest (KILN) who spent days transcribing all of the stories in Anishinaabemowin, the Ojibway language. Having the stories and teachings in both English and Anishinaabemowin was a critical part of the book and we are so grateful for her for sharing her knowledge with us.

Onagottay is  also a core member of KILN and it was important to him that he continues to support community-based organizations in Kingston. Proceeds from each book sold go directly to KILN, it is our hope that this book will continue to support KILN’s mission of language revitalization through knowledge sharing and storytelling.

You can purchase Onagottay Heart and Wisdom Colouring Book here: https://colouritforward.myshopify.com/products/onagottay-heart-wisdom-colouring-book-anishinaabe