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Root to Bloom


photo by oh sierra

The Root to Bloom Tote // A community collaboration between people bringing their work together to raise awareness of poor living&learning conditions on the Six Nations of the Grand River Territory.

Emily and I often find ourselves stewing in settler guilt, brainstorming ways we can get loud about the need for change in our country’s treatment (and disregard) of our indigenous peoples’ well-being. A mere 40min from where we live in Hamilton, the residents of the Six Nations reserve DON’T HAVE RUNNING DRINKING WATER.

Knowing this is a giant issue that seems too big to tackle, I called the Six Nations council and asked them how I could help. They encouraged me to support an immersion school on reserve. Kawenni:io/Gawenni:yo (KGPS) is a private school (bc the gov won’t fund that shit, obviously) that teaches elementary & high school in Cayuga & Mohawk language. This school is dedicated to the resurgence and restoration of their First Nations culture through language. Language is an important key to culture and a link to history.

KGPS is currently renting rooms in a lacrosse arena where there is also no running drinking water. They are hoping to build a new school on land that has potable water service so that they don’t have to ship in bottled water everyday.

We reached out to Jacqui Oakley (who generously illustrated the image of Mama Peonies kissing their baby buds) and Presstime Designs (who prints our Giant Tote) and to our luck they were happy to jump on board. After receiving the first mini-run of totes, we reached out to Oh Sierra Creative to see if they’d help us get the word out. Before I knew it, I was in a car with Xanthe and Frank (of Oh Sierra) driving out to the school to meet them and take pictures of the tote.

It was a quick, but highly emotional trip. It took less than 2 minutes of taking to Linda, the principal, before our hearts started breaking. I dissolved into a sobbing mess, apologizing to her because it’s all so unfair. My privilege. Their generational hardship.


100% of the proceeds from the Root to Bloom Tote are being donated to Kawenni:io/Gaweni:yo Private School.

As settlers on unceded land, we are committed to responding to the Truth & Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action. We want to affirm that indigenous languages are a fundamental and valued element of our culture and society and that the preservation, revitalization, and strengthening of indigenous languages and cultures are best managed by indigenous people and communities.

Creating this tote / buying this tote is a small but accessible gesture, and one that is greatly appreciated by Linda and her team. This tote project is just the tip of the iceberg of the indigenous advocacy we have in the pipes.

Buy a tote. Tell everyone you know to buy a tote. Stay tuned for more: crowd funding, reparation movement classes, fundraising dinners, and who knows what else. Join us.

photos by oh sierra

It's Canada Day Weekend! Celebrate by...

Artwork by  Chief Lady Bird

Artwork by Chief Lady Bird

Hey Friends! Robin, here. It's Canada Day long weekend. Your weekend might be filled with bbq hangs, cottage getaways, and toasts with friends and family, revelling in how lucky we are to be Canadian!

Yes. We are lucky. B U T // that luck was built on a pretty dark, tragic, and under-acknowledged past. 

For those of you that know me - I'm super sensitive and am always feeling the feels of the ever shifting socio-political climate. Reflecting on Canada Day, I couldn't help but feel the weight of our Indigenous history, and how our government's (past... and arguably present) actions echo the current migrant crisis at the Texas/Mexico border.

I messaged my beautiful friend, Jasmin Glaw, asking how I can support our Indigenous Peoples. She sent me this KILLER LIST. 

So here's my challenge to you: celebrate by CLICKING ON EVERY LINK. Learn some NECESSARY shit. Spend your money, energy and time on/with/for Indigenous people so that we can collectively, with real impact, continue to work towards RECONCILIATION. And talk about it at your Canada Day celebrations, ya?

And now, words and wisdom from Jasmin :

(aka Happy Canada Day!)

As we roll out our Canadia branded towels, rep our red and white, maple leafed bucket hats and other hilarious merchandise to celebrate Canada let’s not forget the First Peoples who stewarded this land we now call home… you know, because those people are still here! 12 000 plus years later, and Indigenous people continue to rise. 
Canada Day can host many meanings and feelings for people. For newcomers, it can be a new experience to celebrate a country that has offered friendship and refugee. For born and raised Canadians, it can be a celebration of identity via backyard beers and BBQs at the cottage. However, amongst these celebrations there are also those who do not see today as celebration, but more so a day marking of invasion, cultural genocide, appropriation, disease, broken promises, trauma… the list goes on. 

Everyone has rationale in regards to how they tackle, enjoy or spend their Canada day… be open and appreciative toward all perspectives and all walks of life.

Celebrate by… Supporting Indigenous Businesses //

1)     Raven Reads (Online)

  • RECONCILIATION. ONE PAGE AT A TIME. A beautifully curated collection of Indigenous literature and giftware delivered to your doorstep each season.

2)     Cheekbone Beauty (Online)

  • Canadians are beautiful people and many have no idea this funding gap exists. The truth is First Nations children get 30-50% less funds for education than the rest of Canadian children.
  • Cheekbone Beauty will be supporting First Nations Child & Family Caring Society of Canada with 10% of profits from all purchases.

3)     Cedar Basket @ the Native Canadian Centre of Toronto (Tkaronto)

4)     Skwachays Lodge Gift Shop (Vancouver)

5)     Inkdigenous (Tkaronto)

6)     Manitobah Mukluks (Winnipeg/Online)


Celebrate by… Tuning Into Indigenous Peoples Sounds and Stories //

1)     imagineNATIVE

  • The world's largest presenter of Indigenous screen content. The organization is recognized locally, nationally, and internationally for excellence and innovation in programming and as the global centre for Indigenous media arts

2)     Unreserved Podcast on CBC

3)     Missing and Murdered Podcast CBC

4)     Reclaimed on CBC Music

5)     Revolutions Per Minute a PLETHORA of Indigenous musicians for your ears.


Celebrate by… Educating Yourself //

1)     What is a land acknowledgement?

2)     What is the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and what are the TRC: Calls To Action

3)     What do Indigenous youth have to say about their futures? Feathers of Hope

4)     What does the international community have to say about the Rights of Indigenous Peoples? UNDRIP

5)     What does Canada have to say about Indigenous communities and reconciliation over the next 150 years?#Next150Challenge

6)     What does it mean when someone talks about the child welfare system in Canada and how it’s failing Indigenous children and youth? Jordan’s Principle

7)    Where do I read more human stories about Indigenous peoples, from Indigenous perspectives?:


Celebrate by… Eating at Indigenous restaurants //

1)     Nish Dish (Tkaronto)

2)     Pow Wow Café (Tkaronto)

3)     Salmon and Bannock (Vancouver)

4)     Lelem (Richmond, BC)