Kawa’pomahkaiks | Animals That Roam The Prairie (2020)

Collection of sketched outlines of prairie animals, from left to right pronghorn, swift fox, beaver, coyote, badger and prairie dogs in the centre

Kawa’pomahkaiks | Animals That Roam The Prairie (2021)

Oki Nuksukwa, Nistu di daniku Apoiskumapi. Hello, all my relations, my Blackfoot name is Little Brown Boy and my colonial name is Adrian Stimson.

Welcome to Kawa’pomahkaiks / Animals That Roam The Prairie. The website – www.animalsthatoroamtheprairie.com –  is an extension of the public art installation located on the traditional territory of the Blackfoot confederacy in Mokinistis. It is located at the intersection of 33rd Street and International Ave. SE, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

I would like to thank the funders; City of Calgary, Calgary Arts Development. Logistical support International Ave. My technicians and fabricators, EM Architects, Evan MacLachlan, Turning Point Fabrications, Chris Hilton, Identity Inc. and studio assistant Happy Grove.

I would especially like to thank Myrna Youngman, Gregory Big Eye, Letisha Red Crow and Leroy Little Bear for their pronunciation and story guidance.

This website contains this introduction, two pronunciation and 9 story videos and a further research and links page.

In regard to the pronunciations, Blackfoot is a beautifully descriptive language. Blackfoot is considered an endangered language. My hope in creating this installation is to bring awareness to both the Animals that roamed or once roamed these lands and the revival and safeguarding of the Blackfoot language.

Blackfoot speakers may notice differences in pronunciations and the stories. While we endeavoured to get the right names and stories, you may notice slight differences in the dialect and stories themselves. This is due to the evolution of the confederacy, the loss of language and the stories through time. Blackfoot is an action-based language. Should speakers know of other names for stories, I  encourage you to contact me, we are willing to add and evolve this site.

It is my hope that you take the time to learn and come to know the Blackfoot language and the stories that form our way of knowing.

Iksukapi-that which is good.

Thank you

Adrian Stimson-January 2021


Kawa’pomahkaiks | Animals That Roam The Prairie Project Website – www.animalsthatoroamtheprairie.com

The inspiration came from a session Stimson led at Forest Lawn Library where he asked the attendees, mostly children, to draw something that could become a sculpture. Most drew animals.

“I thought animals would make a good subject, so I started to think how could I fuse Blackfoot culture with this project,” he said. “I thought of the animals that used to or still roam the plains. International Ave. in many ways is the gateway to the plains. The badger, gopher, beaver, burrowing owl, prairie hare, swift fox, black-footed ferret are all animals that once inhabited this area.

“Hopefully this will be a catalyst for people to learn more about Blackfoot culture history and its relationships to animals.”

– Jason Herring, Local artists enlivening International Avenue this summer, Calgary Herald, June 28, 2020


Blackfoot Language Resources