Okii. My name is Jo Ann Yellow Horn/Crow Shoe. My Blackfoot name is I’naksipisttoakii ‘Little Owl Women. Born and raised on the Piikani First Nation, Brocket, Alberta, I was raised in a family with strong cultural and traditional values and with a strong sense of preserving our Blackfoot language. My parents had attended the residential schools, but it did not deter them from carrying on our traditions and language, as they too had strong families ties that allowed them to continue to carry on our Piikani way of life. It is through my upbringing that I too have the desire to carry on our Piikani way of life, to keep our Blackfoot language alive, and to share and teach those that want to learn our language.

I am currently teaching the Blackfoot language to K4 to grade 6 students at Napi’s Playground Elementary School in Piikani where I have been employed for seven years. Prior to teaching at Napi’s Playground Elementary School, I had taught at the Piikani Headstart for eight years teaching three and four year old children and I had done so with a strong inclusion of our culture, traditions, and language. Prior to Piikani Headstart, I had been employed at the then known as Oldman River Cultural Centre for seventeen years where I researched, collected more information, and recorded stories and songs about Piikani, as well as organizing cultural enhancement programs for our community. I was privileged to work with our Elders, traditionalists, ceremonialists, and historians who at that time still had a strong connection to our ways. It was through those visits, interviews, and interactions that I am now able to share what I had learned with our young people today.