Kakwa is a Metis initiative founded in Calgary, Alberta in 1993 by Kathleen & Jeff Coleclough. The traditional native adornment for which Kakwa has become widely known is the result of painstaking research and ancient, native craftsmanship techniques, which result in art pieces combining heritage, history & beauty.
Kakwa’s reputation for quality has become well known & Kathleen & Jeff have been commissioned to provide many custom presentation pieces for clients such as the Calgary Chamber of Commerce, NABA, SAIT, & the City of Calgary.
The historic accuracy of Kakwa’s work is so complete that they have been requested by Fort Calgary, the Royal Saskatchewan Museum, University of Alberta, Peel Heritage Complex, Cypress Hills Inter-Provincial Park, Parks Canada, the Canadian Museum of Civilization, Dept. of Anthropology – University of Toronto, the Calgary Catholic School Board, the Calgary Board of Education, & the Smithsonian Institute’s National Museum of the American Indian to not only recreate artifacts for teaching purposes, but to also provide information on items requiring historic research, such as trade bead identification cards. With over 100 museums, historic sites, & schools using Kakwa’s services, their Aboriginal Resource Kit has approval for classroom use in Manitoba, Sask, Newfoundland, & Northwest Territories, to date. In addition to providing artifact replicas for numerous educational programs, the Kakwa artisans have been commissioned to repair genuine artifacts & to teach cultural information to the volunteer staff at Fort Calgary, Royal Saskatchewan Museum, lecture at the Glenbow Museum, & do presentations for several Saskatchewan Provincial Parks, among others.
Since inception, Kakwa has participated in many shows & exhibits pertaining to native arts & heritage. Kakwa jewellery & artwork is in private collections in Asia, Europe & across North America. Kakwa has provided props, set decoration, & wardrobe items for various movie & TV productions, including: “Lonesome Dove - The Series”; “Jack Bull”; “Shanghai Noon”; “The Virginian”; “Crossfire Trail”; “Papa’s Angels”; “Heartland Ghost”; “Roughing It”; “Open Range”; “Monte Walsh”; “Dream Keeper”; “Legend Hunters”; Little House On The Prairie”; “Shoebox Zoo”, & “Into The West” to date.
Kakwa in Plains Cree means porcupine but in native art it stands for quality.