A COOL First Nations Project

We began this project by going to see a first nations interactive play about reconciliation with First Nations. The play had a major emotional impact on me and I realized my lack of awareness and knowledge about the issues between non-indigenous and indigenous peoples. This play got me both excited and nervous for this project.

The research process began as we tried to narrow down what aspect of reconciliation we wanted to focus on. During my brainstorming process I found it helpful to discuss the sensitive topic with both friends and family, observing their reactions and knowledge about indigenous people. When discussing with my sister, she mentioned some of the boy’s reactions to learning about First Nations culture in class. They were not excited and one of them said, “Oh god we’ve already learned this stuff.” This hit me hard. I thought, “Why do high school students have such negative mindsets? Is there a way to change it? What if we could excite them about learning more and inspire them to move towards reconciliation? We can’t reach reconciliation without being educated and knowing about the past. Their history is ours too.” I felt strongly about educating high school students and creating something that would inspire them to understand the significance of reconciliation with first nations.

Upon research we found an appalling fact; most Canadian textbooks have only 64 words on what happened with first nations. High school teaches us almost nothing! The truth about how little knowledge most of us have hurts! Yet this truth became the spring board of our project.

The incredible Indigenous culture is still thriving today, and our team decided to do an Aboriginal / First Nations festival event to showcase this. Similar to Aboriginal day, but aimed towards youth; creating a fun, cool, hip experience that would inspire and excite them. Our team decided to brand a festival event, and went for a more vibrant, bold, and exciting aesthetic. Since our target market is high school students, we decided to use two fonts: one called Flood Std to grab their attention, another called Avenir Next for clean minimalism and legibility. The inspiration in our color palette lies in the three colours of the Aboriginal flag, red, yellow, and black. We added green for life, energy, and renewal, and blue for stability. The graphic shapes used across our platforms were created based on the distinctive style of the northwest coast First Nations art which uses limited art forms and patterns. We based the graphics off of the three main shapes found in their art; an ovoid (a rounded curvy rectangle), the U-form (a wide filled in letter U), and the S-form (a thick letter S). These shapes are used to form animals, humans, and legendary creatures.

We cannot move towards reconciliation if we do not acknowledge, become aware, and learn about what happened in the past. All our booths/activities found in the festival are set up around this concept. Moving the youth from booth to booth in an order that we believe is best for education and inspiration. Starting with the darkest hardest to hear aspects (blanket exercises), experiencing some of their cultural practices (food trucks, beading, tattoo booths, nature walk with plant education through the park), and ending the festival with exciting fun experiences (drumming circle, campfire, storytelling, roasting bannock). Moving through the festival; learning, creating conversation, and ideation around reconciliation.

If we were to execute this as a real festival, we would make sure to collaborate with many first nations to create our collateral and design the festival. We don’t want to appropriate their culture so this would be a vital collaboration and it would be even more beneficial to our learning experience about First Nations people.

We chose a wide variety of collateral, since there were three of us in collaboration. I created the posters, tickets, wristbands, and a tattoo booth. Jominca conquered the map, icons, tote bags, and pins. Finally Ashely took on the website design, creative brief write up, rationale, layout, and compilation of our files into one pdf file.

The project was A LOT of work but it was extremely fun, educational, and well worth it! Our collaboration was on point, helping each other with opinions and ideas about one another’s collateral. I think we divided the work load well and each created unique yet cohesive pieces. I was grateful to work with such a great team and I wouldn’t change any part of our execution process for it went very smoothly!

I would give myself an A for this project. I spent a lot of time trying to create an interesting image to use across all my pieces. I am happy with the shape I created using first nations forms. Target audience is something I struggle with so I really tried to focus on creating something that would appeal to youth and I think I accomplished this. I think I handled the information and type well to create hierarchy and interest. I am very happy with the outcome!

Click to see our pdf! liveson_final