Sínulkhay and Ladders: Decolonizing Practices

Workshop for AUArts Aahwaatkamooksi Peer mentorship group
Led by Michelle Nahanee, Nahanee Creative inc.


Wednesday January 39, 2019

Nahanee Creative Inc. was founded by Ta7talíya Michelle Nahanee, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, a decolonial facilitator & strategist catalyzing social change to transform colonial narratives & impacts through centred Indigeneity. Ta7talíya works within the intersection of class, culture and creativity focusing on social change through communications and deep engagement.

Ta7talíya’s collaborations have influenced opinions, changed behaviours and mobilized community action. She is the designer of a life-size board game called Sínulhkay and Ladders and workshop called Decolonizing Practices which aims to answer the question “what now” in this era of truth & reconciliation. Her approach has earned her the 2019 City of Vancouver Award of Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion. Michelle is also a 2020 Dialogue Associate with the Simon Fraser University Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue.

In May 2020, Ta7talíya wrote & designed Decolonize First, a liberating guide & workbook for peeling back the layers of neocolonialism as a creative contribution towards increasing accessibility to decolonization. 

Aahwaatkamooksi is a mentorship program for Indigenous students that offers access to older students and Elders in the community to support their academic, personal and cultural growth.

Aahwaatkamooksi is a Blackfoot word translating in English to ‘creating friendships.’ The goal of this program is to provide specialized, holistic support to Indigenous students to reduce attrition rates and create leadership opportunities while increasing overall educational attainment in art, craft and design education. Experienced senior Indigenous students (mentors) will be paired with first-year Indigenous students (mentees) to support collaborative learning and help them with their transition to post-secondary education. ​Mentors have trained through a comprehensive and holistic training process, which will enhance their educational experience and foster leadership. The ​Aahwaatkamooksi Peer Mentorship Program was made possible through the generous funding of Suncor Energy Foundation, who sponsored the creation of the Lodgepole Center at AUArts.

More about this program here

Images courtesy Angel Goodale