Waniskâw is an inquiry-based learning platform designed to provide indigenous youth with online software and learning resources to write code and create digital art assets while also motivating the youth by removing barriers to share their work with others online and encouraging them to express themselves and tell stories through the games, animations, digital zines, and other forms of new media art they create.

All Waniskâw projects are open source, allowing learners to use art and coding solutions from others on the platform, which enables individuals to support one another asynchronously, go much further with their projects and feel much more proud of their work than they otherwise would, especially in the early stages of learning to code when they’re most likely to give up. 

We can ensure equitable access between Indigenous youth by focusing on pixel art and vector graphics. Pixel art and vector graphics file sizes are so compact that they will load quickly regardless of how rural a young creator may be. The youth can also create pixel art and vector graphics just as easily with a mouse or trackpad as with an expensive drawing tablet. 

Waniskâw hopes that Indigenous youth get in the habit of using their voices more loudly through learning to create in a medium that enables their stories to spread beyond geographic boundaries.


Waniskâw's co-creation and user research process revealed that the Indigenous youths that were interviewed had a distrust for brands that felt corporate or institutional. Additionally, they didn't frame the importance of intelligence, learning and self-improvement as centring future individual financial success; instead, they centred these virtues on becoming valuable community members and signalling that others can't trick and exploit them. Further conversations revealed that these youths associated hackers and graffiti artists with the virtue of being ungovernable status-quo shakers. Waniskâw's branding takes inspiration from early computer UI, which these youth associated with hackers. The branding also takes inspiration from the white walls of art galleries because it allows these youth's work and message to be the central focus and a core part of the brand identity. No more boring career development programs; this is a place for youth to improve their talents, self-express, speak their truth and spread their message!

Nodin Cutfeet (he/him)

Nodin is an Anishinaabe interaction designer who has been an electronics hobbyist since grade three and a programmer since the eighth grade. Waniskâw was Nodin's year-long capstone project at Emily Carr University which started with the self-determined goal of using technology to promote Indigenomics across turtle island. 


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