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Selkirk, Man., family makes clothing to preserve Indigenous languages

Selkirk, Man. family making clothing to preserve indigenous languages
WATCH: A mother-and-daughter duo from Selkirk, Man., are doing their part to preserve Indigenous languages by creating unique clothing.

Kim Blackburde-Moore and her daughter Tehya have been quite busy since the launch of their website in October.

The duo has sold hundreds of pieces of clothing inspired by four different Indigenous languages. They make garments with slogans in Michif French, Michif Cree, Ojibwe and Dakota.

An assortment of clothing offered by MakadeMigizi Clothing & Apparel.
An assortment of clothing offered by MakadeMigizi Clothing & Apparel. Marek Tkach / Global News

“My mom found a store (with clothes) that said ‘mama bear,’ ‘sister bear,’ ‘brother bear’ and ‘papa bear,’ but I wanted one in Ojibwe, and they didn’t have that anywhere,” Tehya explained.

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She took it upon herself to design clothing that is now being worn on First Nation reserves around Manitoba.

“She’s the one who brought it up to me that we should start putting ‘mama bear’ and ‘baby bear’ on clothing in Ojibwe,” said Blackburde-Moore.

Kim Blackburde-Moore organizing her stock of T-shirts and hoodies.
Kim Blackburde-Moore organizing her stock of T-shirts and hoodies. Marek Tkach / Global News

For Blackburde-Moore, it was easy to find motivation to create the clothing. Her father spent six years in residential school and lost the language he was brought up speaking.

“He didn’t pass the language down to his children, therefore I didn’t learn the language, either, so this is our way of trying to revitalize the language and bring it back,” she said.

Blackburde-Moore says proceeds from the clothing will go towards making sure the tradition surrounding Indigenous languages stays alive.

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“I would like to be able to offer immersion camps in different languages, primarily in Ojibwe, possibly Cree, Michif French, wherever that need seems to arise,” she said.

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