2023 Indigenous Communities Fellowship



Waniskâw is a free online self-directed learning platform for Indigenous youth across turtle-island to create and share digital artwork.

Team Lead

Nodin Cutfeet

Solution Overview & Team Lead Details

Our Organization

Waniskâw Foundation

What is the name of your solution?


Provide a one-line summary of your solution.

Waniskâw is a free online self-directed learning platform for Indigenous youth across turtle-island to create and share digital artwork.

Film your elevator pitch.

What specific problem are you solving?

The perspectives of Indigenous peoples are underrepresented in technology, both in terms of the representation of Indigenous cultures in online media and in how our values shape the technology humanity invests its time in developing. For example, in 2020, Indigenous people accounted for 4% of Canada's adult population but only 2% of workers in STEM. At Google, we account for only 0.8% of their workforce. More broadly, in Silicon Valley, the numbers are so bleak that we don't get our own spot in the data and are a footnote below the charts. In an age of constant crises brought on by the colonial model, Indigenous wisdom is needed in positions of influence, for we have been successful stewards of our land, water and air for tens of thousands of years. To increase the collective power of Indigenous peoples, we must break through the barriers holding us back. 

Waniskâw believes the lack of Indigenous representation in online media further drives cultural erasure. People may rarely find indigenous content and perspectives online unless they seek them out. Furthermore, Indigenous youth, especially LGBT+ or two-spirited community members, may feel unsafe posting on social media unless their account is private, limiting the visibility of Indigenous peoples in online communities. Teenagers spend an average of 8+ hours a day online, making the internet an essential place for reaching youth, exposing them to decolonial perspectives, keeping Indigenous youth from drifting from their culture and teaching Indigenous values to those separated from their cultures. 

The barriers to post-secondary education are a keystone issue holding us back from having a seat at the discussions that affect us, a problem we must continuously confront from new angles. In Canada, only 53% of Indigenous peoples attended post-secondary, compared to 63% of all Canadians. The issue is far worse in the US, with only 17% attending post-secondary, compared to 60% of all Americans. Of the most prevalent barriers keeping Indigenous people from accessing post-secondary education, Waniskâw was designed to address the issues of academic preparedness, lack of self-confidence, and lack of awareness of career paths related to post-secondary.

Despite the numerous online educational platforms on the market, many aren't accessible to Indigenous youth. These platforms are designed for high-speed internet connections and bar access through mandatory subscription payments. Many remote households can't keep up, with 54% of rural households surveyed by the CRTC in 2019 not having internet service options faster than 50Mb/s, compared to 92% of the country. Moreover, 74 of the 76 Canadian communities dependent on expensive and slow satellite internet connections are Indigenous communities. 

Technology shapes how we live together and interact with our planet; art informs our perspectives and guides us in reevaluating ourselves and the world around us. As technology further permeates all parts of our lives, and we increasingly consume more media that shape our perspectives, it's increasingly important that indigenous people have a seat at the table in both art and technology.

What is your solution?

Waniskâw is an online platform for Indigenous youth to learn, create and share. Not only are existing educational platforms not accessible to most Indigenous youth, but they also aren't appealing. For example, existing academic preparedness solutions aim to motivate youth by using future career outcomes as a carrot on a stick. However, the Indigenous youths interviewed in the design and co-creation process of Waniskâw weren't interested in that proposition as they felt disenfranchised by the future career market and were more interested in gaining knowledge for its ability to make them a valued community member and allowing them to show off to their peers. Additionally, the educational structures of existing solutions tend to be rigid and based on the public school system. In contrast, Waniskâw is self-guided, project-based and exploratory. 

Waniskâw uses self-expression as an intrinsic form of motivation. In addition to coding with simplified JavaScript, Waniskâw emphasizes pixel and vector art through our tutorials and free online tools because youth can create these asset types without an expensive drawing tablet. Indigenous youth can represent all 2D traditional Indigenous art forms across Turtle Island with pixel or vector art. The low bandwidth nature of these asset types will ensure that the projects are accessible in remote communities. Completed projects are open-sourced and shared with the rest of the Waniskâw community. Projects and the indigenous perspective they contain can also be shared on the broader internet by sharing links. 

The open-source nature of Waniskâw and the projects hosted on it allow for a peer-to-peer form of knowledge transfer. Once Waniskâw has left its minimum viable product (MVP) stage, we will partner with elders and Indigenous artists to create video and low-bandwidth written form tutorials. These lessons on traditional knowledge will follow the cultural protocols of knowledge transfer specific to their topic. In the MVP stage, Waniskâw will embed existing YouTube tutorials by Daniel Shiffman on his channel, The Coding Train, which he has permitted us to use for free. Using Shiffman's existing videos will allow us to start with a wealth of educational content on creative coding. In addition, Waniskâw will create proprietary tutorials for its custom pixel and vector art interfaces.

The design of Waniskâw enables the youth to create nearly anything while only having a few features, making it accessible both in terms of cost and internet bandwidth while also keeping Waniskâw easy to use, a design approach that earned Waniskâw two awards at the 2023 Vancouver User Experience Design Awards, including the award for Best User Experience of 2023.

Waniskâw was designed from the ground up to prepare Indigenous youth for a future in reshaping the world we build while introducing them to a breadth of career paths they can consider pursuing, including art, design, technology and all related fields of study. In the near term, these youth will benefit from having access to the necessary tools, technical educational resources, traditional knowledge, and online community to express themselves and explore their identities while spreading their perspectives across the internet.

Who does your solution serve, and in what ways will the solution impact their lives?

Nodin Cutfeet designed Waniskâw for Indigenous teenagers while ensuring that the skill cap on what is possible with the platform could satisfy the creative abilities of an Indigenous 23-year-old post-secondary student. Encouraging these older youth to stick with Waniskâw will increase the number of high-quality projects posted to the community, inspiring the younger learners. This approach to age ranges follows the model of other creative tech education tools such as Arduino and Raspberry Pi. A broad skill range will be achievable because Waniskâw will teach P5js, a beginner-friendly version of JavaScript with the full power of the original language. 

In the field of Interaction Design, there is a guiding value that innovators should make the hardest-to-reach members of their target audience the core stakeholder when creating a product or service; this ensures it meets the needs of all intended users. For this reason, Waniskâw was designed to meet the needs of youth living in rural fly-in communities with limited internet access. By ensuring access for youth in these communities, we can connect urban Indigenous youth across the country to youth living as far away as the arctic circle, further bringing us together as a people with overlapping values and goals. 

Upon launch, Waniskâw will be available north of the colonial border. According to Statistics Canada, in 2016, there were 283,390 Indigenous youths between the ages of 15 and 24. After leaving the MVP stage, Waniskâw will conduct co-creation and design refinements to meet the needs of those living below the border. This expansion will open Waniskâw to 516,036 more Indigenous people aged 15-24, according to the 2021 US Census.

The open-source nature of Waniskâw would allow users to focus their time on developing the skills they genuinely want to learn. For example, suppose a learner wanted to create a platformer game with a theme of Inuit spiritual beliefs, but they're not interested in coding. Instead, they can focus on creating an "asset pack" to replace the assets on an existing platformer. Simply by changing the assets, they can change the experience. In addition, the person who created the original game would get a notification nudging them to check out the remixed version of their project, encouraging the two youths to work together asynchronously and build a connection.

Without Waniskâw, finding free beginner-friendly software, educational resources that meet their needs, and a welcoming online community to share their work would take as much effort as the work itself. Waniskâw helps by putting everything they need in one place. Developing these skills at a young age will help Indigenous youths build confidence in their intellectual and creative abilities, express their unique identities, test out and familiarize themselves with numerous post-secondary fields of study and spread their voice online in an engaging format that can extend beyond geographic boundaries. As well, youth who still cannot or decide not to attend post-secondary will also have foundational skills to start a freelance career in art, design and technology.

Which Indigenous community(s) does your solution benefit? In what ways will your solution benefit this community?

With Waniskâw, our youth will spread Indigenous values across the internet, displacing hate and preparing for further education, all while learning technical skills they can use to help solve daily problems their family and community face. For example, imagine a local cafe getting a new sign printed; they can hire a local girl whos been using Waniskâw for a year to design a new logo using the free vector graphic tool, keeping the wealth within the community. Youths who stay close to home can also start a remote freelance career with Adobe software after being taught the fundamentals by Waniskâw, bringing wealth into their communities.

Keeping youth busy shouldn't just be about keeping them out of trouble; Waniskâw will keep youth entertained in a genuinely engaging and meaningful way. "Waniskâw" is just one way to say "rising" or "awakening" in Cree, but there are many words for conveying this, and "Waniskâw" implies "to get out of bed." This choice of wording is because Waniskâw was designed to give Indigenous youth a project to look forward to every morning when they wake up and get out of bed.

Waniskâw was designed in a co-creation process with a handful of youth from different Indigenous cultural backgrounds living in Victoria and Vancouver. Once Waniskâw has launched, we will provide in-person workshops with Indigenous youth in their communities. These workshops will help onboard new youth while providing direct feedback on where we can improve.

When creating new lessons grounded in traditional knowledge, we will work directly with elders and Indigenous artists to ensure adherence to traditional protocols. Waniskâw will financially compensate those who lend us their time and wisdom when culturally appropriate; otherwise, we will work with the individual to identify appropriate compensation.

Having youth full of confidence, creativity, and hope go off to post-secondary will put more Indigenous peoples in positions to make critical decisions and will ensure Indigenous peoples are served well by the world we build together.

How are you and your team well-positioned to deliver this solution?

I, Nodin Cutfeet, am Cree and have been tinkering with circuitry since the third grade and coding since the 8th grade. Before studying Interaction Design at Emily Carr University, I never did well in school. Still, I was confident in my abilities because of what I knew I could accomplish in my hobbies. With Daniel Cutfeet as a father, a creative man with an arts background, I was often inspired to make art depicting possible futures. Back then, combining visual creativity with coding skills was much more challenging; since then, there has been an open-source creative hobbyist revolution for Waniskâw to use as a strong foundation.

As a primarily urban Indigenous youth, most of my access to Indigenous knowledge came from my father, grandfather, Indigenous art in galleries, and the occasional cultural revitalization workshop. Youths like me would benefit from having a portion of their online time spent connecting with Indigenous youths living in rural communities, sharing experiences, bonding and seeing ourselves represented in online media.

My grandfather, James Cutfeet, has had a lifelong career improving Indigenous education and strengthening access to post-secondary for Indigenous people from North Western Ontario. This experience, in addition to his time as Chief of our community, has helped him build connections within education and government and taught him how to work within colonial bureaucratic structures. By the time I was in high school, my father was a doctor working in remote Indigenous communities. Both of them spent much of their formative years living on reserve. I benefited greatly from the insights my father and grandfather shared about the interconnectedness of Indigenous issues and how many of them were linked to education access in its various forms.

Waniskâw was co-created with a handful of the youth it was designed for, which means that as a designer, I was an organizer for discussion, and the youths played the role of experts. The insights they provided were turned into design solutions. They gave feedback on what I designed, and the cycle began again until we reached a collective conclusion. As Waniskâw grows, we will continue to co-create with those we serve to best match their needs.

Which dimension of the Challenge does your solution most closely address?

Drive positive outcomes for Indigenous learners of any age and context through culturally grounded educational opportunities.

In what city, town, or region is your solution team headquartered?

Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

What is your solution’s stage of development?

Concept: An idea for building a product, service, or business model that is being explored for implementation.

How many people does your solution currently serve?

Officially, Waniskâw hasn’t carried out any activities. However, Nodin Cutfeet, in 2023, has been carrying out coding and Adobe workshops. These in-person workshops for artists are a test of the planned curriculum, with a total participant count of around 30.

Why are you applying to Solve?

Waniskâw is now in the stage where we can apply for grant funding, and feedback on our applications would help substantially.

Waniskâw needs guidance in planning which programming frameworks to use so that our digital infrastructure doesn't have to be retrofitted as we grow.

Waniskâw would benefit significantly from learning about recruiting talent because we will eventually require in-house developers and an expanded board. As a note, if Waniskâw starts with the option of in-house development rather than contracting a firm, we will likely partner with an existing development firm to act as an external project manager, ensuring a strong start.

A more fine-grained understanding of intellectual property law will be necessary to keep this data sovereign and out of colonial for-profit datasets used to train proprietary AI to code.

Waniskâw will require legal guidance in US not-for-profit law to expand below the border eventually. Connections to Indigenous communities below the border and the ability to co-create with youth from these communities will grant Waniskâw greater insight into how to expand. The difficulty of these steps will determine how long it takes for Waniskâw to cross the border after the MVP launch.

Waniskâw would benefit from receiving guidance and feedback on tracking and measuring the success of youth who use Waniskâw to ensure that we, as an organization, are achieving our goals.

In which of the following areas do you most need partners or support?

  • Financial (e.g. accounting practices, pitching to investors)
  • Human Capital (e.g. sourcing talent, board development)
  • Legal or Regulatory Matters
  • Monitoring & Evaluation (e.g. collecting/using data, measuring impact)

Who is the Team Lead for your solution?

Nodin Cutfeet

Please indicate the tribal affiliation of your Team Lead.

Cree of Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug

How is your Team Lead connected to the community or communities in which your project is based?

I, Nodin Cutfeet, have lived in numerous small towns and big cities in Ontario and British Columbia, helping me to identify cultural and systemic differences and similarities between regions. As well, as an urban Indigenous person, I have the privilege of being connected to many Indigenous leaders and educators from across the continent. The people I am connected to have lent me their guidance, further refining Waniskâw into what it is today.

The next step will be to build connections with leaders and educators from the nine First Nations that are only a short drive away. These connections will help Waniskâw work directly with youth, enabling us to co-create our next steps as an organization.

More About Your Solution

What makes your solution innovative?

Waniskâw follows Nintendo's approach to innovation, uniquely combining older technology that has become affordable and reliable, prioritizing innovation through a focus on novelty and fun over the risks associated with leading the charge in developing brand-new technology. 

By having all Waniskâw projects and art assets made available to others on the platform, the quality of Waniskâw as a service will grow exponentially through each contribution to the community. In addition, by focusing on one programming language, we can ensure that someone learning to code can interpret the code of all other projects on the platform. Waniskâw champions open-source as a means of grass-roots community upliftment. We believe our success will spread the approach of making community contributions open-source and remixable within the digital art and hobbyist coding scenes. In addition, we believe Waniskâw will be another positive example of the efficacy of project-based learning among Indigenous youth.

Unlike other learning platforms, Waniskâw manages to be fun through its focus on self-expression. Waniskâw also competes by being free. The key choices that enable these outcomes are:

  • Waniskâw puts everything the youth need in one place while relying on the existing public-domain contributions of others to ensure Waniskâw has little to create from scratch in the MVP stage.
  • Waniskâw focuses on ensuring the sharability of finished projects. Youth simply need to send their friends a link; no downloads are required to open the project. This results from focusing on web-based programming that can be opened in a desktop or mobile web browser.
  • The strategy mentioned above not only makes Wanisâw more rewarding to build on, but it's also more engaging to browse casually.
  • Youth are nudged to learn more by watching tutorials, but tutorials aren't mandatory. This avoids patronizing the youth, leaving their learning journey up to them. Many youths, myself included, would prefer to learn by tinkering and only consult tutorials when stumped.

To complement the focuses of Waniskâw mentioned above, Waniskâw has a handful of unique design elements to ensure it's easy for users of Waniskâw to rely on other community members' work to improve their projects.

  • Waniskâw nudges people using the art interface to name their layers, making individual assets within larger images easier to find using the Waniskâw community search function. 
  • The user interface lets coders know when the number of code comments isn't up to par, nudging them to describe their code better, making it easier for other learners to understand and remix the code later for new purposes. 
  • The coding interface allows images and diagrams drawn with the art tools to be added as code comments, assisting visual thinkers in wrapping their heads around code.
  • The existence of asset packs as a project category turns pixel and vector art practice into meaningful contributions to the Waniskâw community that can be reused in new projects.
  • The existence of example code as a project category allows learners to share the solutions to coding problems they've solved, encouraging them to show off and making the solution to common coding challenges searchable on Waniskâw.

What are your impact goals for the next year and the next five years, and how will you achieve them?

Within the first year of the MVP launch, Waniskâw hopes to have at least six workshops per year operating in the various Indigenous communities in our local region. After ironing out any kinks we discover after launch, we will start running workshops with a small number of educational arts groups and galleries nationwide this first year. These workshops will provide us with feedback and introduce youth to Waniskâw. The youth who begin to use Waniskâw regularly will have a new community to express themselves and see themselves represented. We hope to have 100 high-quality community-made projects on Waniskâw by the end of the first year.

Within five years, Waniskâw hopes to have enough youth from each region nationwide who have used Waniskâw for long enough that they can teach workshops to youth new to digital art and creative coding. Furthermore, user-run workshops enable Waniskâw to serve in-person workshops in remote fly-in communities. In addition, Waniskâw hopes to see high school graduation and post-secondary attendance rates well above the national average among its frequent users.

Which of the UN Sustainable Development Goals does your solution address?

  • 1. No Poverty
  • 4. Quality Education
  • 8. Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • 10. Reduced Inequalities

How are you measuring your progress toward your impact goals?

In addition to recording standard user metrics, Waniskâw will survey active users online and follow up with Waniskâw users who have reached post-secondary age via email to understand their lives outside of Waniskâw. Aboriginal Gathering spaces in universities may be able to help us in gathering information about their Indigenous student body as well. More work and external-advisory will be needed to refine our strategy in measuring progress. 

Short-term key performance indicators will be:

  • New unique visitors to Waniskâw.
  • The number of new accounts created.
  • Diversity of gender among accounts created.
  • Diversity of location.
  • Diversity of Indigenous nation-affiliation.
  • Monthly active users.
  • Time spent interacting with projects made by others.
  • Time spent creating new projects.
  • Categories of work being done.
  • Frequency of projects being shared via links.
  • Rise in self-confidence level among surveyed youth.
  • Changing interest levels in attending post-secondary.

Long-term KPIs will be:

  • High-school graduation rates
  • Rates of post-secondary registration 
  • Indigenous enrollment in art, design and technology-related post-secondary education.

What is your theory of change?


Waniskâw provides tutorials for Indigenous art practices in a digital context, visual art, design, and technology and applies traditional knowledge where applicable. Tutorials are structured to nudge youth into experimenting with various skills. The output will be youth who have experimented with multiple academic fields of study, developed foundational skills for post-secondary, and built confidence in themselves, all while maintaining and strengthening the connection to their Indigenous heritage. The short-term outcome for youth will be the technical skills to express themselves, what they're going through, and develop the confidence to know they can get through their high school and post-secondary education. In addition, having experimented with various fields of study will help them choose a post-secondary education.

Creating & Sharing:

Waniskâw provides the tools for youth to achieve their creative vision with digital art, opening the doors to creative freedom and self-expression. These projects can then be shared with the Waniskâw community and the broader internet. The output will be a wealth of art made by Indigenous youth. The short-term outcome will be the creation of an online space where Indigenous youths, including LGBT+ and two-spirit members of our community, can express themselves and see themselves represented without fear of hate speech. In addition, sharing this content with the broader internet will help to decolonize online spaces.


All projects created on Waniskâw will be open-source, allowing other Waniskâw users to remix any part of a project for a new purpose. The output of this will be a catalogue of projects to get inspired by and high-quality work that can be reformatted to serve new purposes. The short-term outcomes will be youth-made art that is much more impressive than what could be accomplished working individually. In addition, simply by existing on the platform, youth will work asynchronously as part of a community and will be aware of the impacts of their work on the rest of the community. 

Long-Term Outcomes:

The long-term outcomes will be Indigenous young adults working in various fields with the confidence, knowledge and credentials to create change grounded in Indigenous wisdom and values, aware of their work's impacts on others.

Describe the core technology that powers your solution.

Waniskâw will be a website that utilizes cloud hosting so youth can create and share their work. Youth will code in P5js, a simplified version of JavaScript developed by the Processing Foundation for beginners and advanced hobbyists to create interactive media that can be shared online. The Processing Foundation has an open-source version of the coding interface already developed, which Waniskâw will use as the foundation of its MVP. Achieving this will mean building a team or partnering with a development team that can work with JavaScript and Docker.

Waniskâw's two online art tools will be pixel and vector art. Both are low-bandwidth and can be done with a mouse or trackpad rather than requiring a drawing tablet. With these two asset types, youth can recreate all traditional forms of 2D Indigenous art. Adding code to the mix will allow youth to bring motion and interactivity to the work while enabling them to create visual effects that would previously require expensive software like the Adobe Suite, the trade-off being the workflow speed for achieving unique visual effects.

The tutorials Waniskâw makes in collaboration with Indigenous artists and elders will rely on traditional knowledge and apply that wisdom to digital and creative processes and problem-solving.

After the MVP is deemed successful, our twin for-profit organization, Ahasik, will launch its offshoot to generate revenue and catalyze growth for the feature set of the two platforms. This will leave Waniskâw extra resources to expand the scope of its services. These new services may include providing Raspberry Pi computers to Indigenous youth with limited computer access.

Ahasik will likely create a downloadable mobile web app for interacting with community-made projects on the go. This web app will be similar to Facebook Lite, which is little more than a link on your home screen to the mobile site. This style of downloadable web app looks and feels like a real app while just displaying the existing website, accruing minimal additional development costs while having the bonus of increasing user engagement. This downloadable web app could become a key source of ad revenue. Waniskâw will launch a rebranded version of this app, benefiting from the work of Ahasik.

Which of the following categories best describes your solution?

A new application of an existing technology

Please select the technologies currently used in your solution:

  • Ancestral Technology & Practices
  • Crowd Sourced Service / Social Networks
  • Software and Mobile Applications

In which parts of the US and/or Canada do you currently operate?

Canada-wide with local workshops near Victoria as on-boarding

In which parts of the US and/or Canada will you be operating within the next year?


Your Team

What type of organization is your solution team?

Hybrid of for-profit and nonprofit

How many people work on your solution team?

One full-time, two in advisory roles, and a potential collaboration with Animikii.

How long have you been working on your solution?

Waniskâw started as a capstone project in 2021; now, in mid-2023, I have the financial ability to work on the project full-time.

What is your approach to incorporating diversity, equity, and inclusivity into your work?

Waniskâw hires Indigenous people whenever possible, which thankfully has been possible for everything we've needed so far. In addition, we believe hiring women, two-spirited, and gender-diverse individuals will further strengthen the representation of diverse viewpoints within the Waniskâw Foundation.

Your Business Model & Funding

What is your business model?


Waniskâw's MVP development will be funded with grants. Being a not-for-profit in Indigenous arts makes many grants available to us. For example, in September, there will be one grant of $300,000 from the Canada Arts Council and $125,000 from the Indigenous Innovation Fund. Both grants have multiple application dates a year, so it won't be an issue if Waniskâw doesn't receive funding on the first attempt.

Waniskâw is primarily a free service designed for Indigenous youth. However, youth who use more than their fair share of storage resources can pay to access more server storage by paying for a premium account. A premium account will also allow youth to point custom domains at their profile or projects they've created. Custom domains will make youth even more proud to share their work because their profile and projects will look much more official. To achieve these features, we will need to coordinate with the cloud-hosting service Waniskâw chooses to work with.

Currently, people and independent art galleries running workshops in digital art or creative coding need an option that meets the needs of Indigenous youth. Unfortunately, the Adobe Suite is too expensive, and their grant funding can only afford to provide youth with access for a short time. For creative coding, the organizer must spend many hours developing a beginner-friendly curriculum and compiling resources for youth to continue learning after the workshop. Waniskâw can easily serve as a solution to these issues, partner with galleries and other organizations teaching art skills to Indigenous youth, and request a portion of the grant funding.

Advertisements will also have a role to play in funding Waniskâw. We will avoid banner ads and pop-ups to avoid making Waniskâw a frustrating service. Instead, Waniskâw will mix ads in with the projects on the home page, similar to Pinterest.

Do you primarily provide products or services directly to individuals, to other organizations, or to the government?

Individual consumers or stakeholders (B2C)

What is your plan for becoming financially sustainable?

As previously mentioned, Waniskâw has its eye on a total of $425,000 worth of grant funding, which will fund the launch of the MVP and cover projected overhead expenses for at least one year.

Waniskâw will earn recurring revenue from partner organizations who use the service in their workshops, advertisements and the small number of premium account subscriptions; this will likely be more than enough to cover ongoing cloud-hosting expenses and accounting fees.

Indigenous youth have very little money to spend on hobbies, making it hard to sustain a business model by serving them alone; for this reason, once Waniskâw's MVP is deemed successful, the twin for-profit organization Ahasik will launch an alternate version of the service which serves non-indigenous creators. If First Nations, Métis, or Inuit youth sign up for Ahasik's version, they will be asked if they'd rather sign-up with Waniskâw. The two platforms will pool community-made projects. The key difference will be that Waniskâw and its users have exclusive access to educational material on Indigenous wisdom and art practices. Furthermore, Indigenous-made projects will be boosted in the recommendation algorithm on Waniskâw, whereas all projects will be on a level playing field in Ahasik's version.

Once Ahasik launches its version, Ahasik will develop new features, maintain existing ones, and cover all expenses associated with those activities. This hybrid-organizational structure will enable Waniskâw to focus its recurring revenue and grant funding on creating more Indigenous educational material, organizing in-person workshops, and collaborating with Indigenous artists to create high-quality example content to inspire youth on Waniskâw. In the future, there is also potential for Waniskâw to provide computer access to youth in remote communities, possibly with Raspberry Pi computers.

Launching Ahasik will also make this a sustainable career path for those working on the project, as under Canadian not-for-profit law, directors cannot receive payment from the not-for-profit organization they run.

Share some examples of how your plan to achieve financial sustainability has been successful so far.

I raised funds to keep myself afloat, hire a lawyer, and finish registering Waniskâw as a grant-ready not-for-profit by running in-person workshops in partnership with a local gallery. In addition, these workshops helped me test my ideas for Waniskâw's curriculum. These workshops were usually funded by grants the gallery applied for, and the pay included the hours of work it took to develop a curriculum. Developing a new curriculum for each Waniskâw workshop won't be necessary, giving Waniskâw a strategic advantage that could lower the gallery's expenses and earn Waniskâw and its workshop leaders more money per hour of workshop operated. This could be a reasonably sizable income if scaled nationwide.

Solution Team

  • Nodin Cutfeet Founder & Interaction Designer, Waniskâw Foundation
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