Trisha Pitura

Co-Founder MINI TIPI, Head of Design

Nipissing First Nation, Marten Clan

Aaniin! My name is Trisha Pitura, I am a member of Nipissing First Nation and co-founder of MINI TIPI as well as the Head of Design and Director of Artist Relations.  I have always had a creative outlet, wanting to learn crafts that my grandmothers practised.  I took a particular interest in wanting to learn to sew with the objective to learn more about quilting.  I became more interested in the designs in the fabric, trying to find unique patterns that spoke to me.  I was inspired by plants, flowers, nature and animals, and I found an emotional connection with fabric designs. 

When MINI TIPI was born the fabric choices drew me closer and closer to the path of reconnecting to my culture.  I grew up not really knowing where I belonged and did not take full pride in a big part of who I was.  I was not taught the ways of my people, and I felt a tremendous pull to begin my journey to reconnect or more connect and learn, and most importantly, be proud of who I was. 

In the evolution of our product development we started using a wool blend fabric that was inspired by native designs, but was not authentic or connected to any Nations or artists.  We started asking ourselves bigger questions that brought us to the conclusion that there was a lack of authentic designs in Canada.  This is when we decided to change the narrative and start designing authentic Indigenous designs that celebrated culture and shared knowledge by weaving teachings into textile. 

This was my reconnection. To learn, share and provide proper representation to the textile industry.  I created MINI TIPI’s first exclusive Brand Label design in 2019, and I have been creating designs that are inspired by teachings and Indigenous principles and practice that I have been learning about and I use beautiful designs to share this knowledge.

I am interested in other artists and what they are doing in the community and how they use visual storytelling as a way to revitalize the Indigenous culture.  Authentic Indigenous designs and storytelling hold deep cultural significance and meaning.  They serve as a way to preserve and pass down traditional knowledge, history and values from one generation to the next.  When we collaborate with artists it is a way to share teachings and cultural knowledge that has been passed down to them.  I am very interested in traditional artforms, and inspired by artists who are knowledge keepers of the artform.  When I work with artists, it is important to be able to share the culture in a respectful way that will open the minds of our customers, and start conversations with the knowledge they gain from the storytelling through the designs.

This journey of reconnecting continues to inspire me to learn and celebrate the beauty and richness of my culture and to ensure that the knowledge is properly represented and authentic.  The work we do at MINI TIPI is to make change, to empower our customers with knowledge and be the bridge that connects Indigenous and non-Indigenous people on this road of reconciliation.