Design contest co-winner drew on classroom experience and reconciliation for her creation

Designs by Tia Furtenberg (left) and Orlanda Flett (right) were selected in an online vote to adorn new City of Prince Albert merchandise. The apparel will be available for sale at the Prince Albert Tourism Centre sometime in mid to late-September. -- Submitted photo.

When Orlanda Flett began creating a logo for the City of Prince Albert’s design contest, she looked to the classroom for inspiration.

Flett, a Cree language teacher at John Diefenbaker Public School, said the Cree program has helped instill pride and revitalize Indigenous culture in her students. She wanted residents of Prince Albert to feel something similar, which led to her design.

On Aug. 14, those efforts were rewarded when Flett’s design was one of two chosen in an online vote. The designs will adorn t-shirts and other apparel at the Prince Albert Tourism Centre starting sometime before the end of September.

“I was excited and nervous just having my name out there,” Flett said. “(I was) a little bit scared, but excited to share my design.

“I’m just really excited to see (the apparel) and find out when they’re out so I can wear it with pride,” she added.

Flett’s design takes traditional prairie symbols like a stalk of wheat and combines them with traditional Indigenous symbols like the teepee. She said Prince Albert is a place where Western and Indigenous ways of knowing can connect, and she wanted that represented in her design.

While relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people haven’t always been positive, Flett said it’s important to promote reconciliation between the two groups.

“It’s getting better, definitely, (and) it (the design) is a symbol of getting better,” she said. “It’s a symbol of reconciliation.”

Flett teaches pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten Cree language classes at Diefenbaker. She said she’s following in the steps of the late teacher Victor Thunderchild, who always wanted to see vibrant language and culture programs in Prince Albert schools.

She’s tried to take the lessons she’s learned in the classroom and incorporate it into her designs. That includes not only the theme of reconciliation, but some more practical aspects of design as well.

“Teaching here, I create a lot of things and resources for my classroom (and) program, and that’s why I went with the simplicity of (the design),” she explained. “It’s just something I do in my classroom. Its’ easy and it’s simple.”

Flett’s design was one of two chosen to adorn City of Prince Albert merchandise. The other, which draws on Little Red River Park for inspiration, was created by local artist and small business owner Tia Furstenberg.

The two designs were chosen from a group of four that was unveiled on July 27. Voters then cast an online ballot for their favourite design until the Aug. 3 deadline. The winning design would receive a $1,000 prize, with the second, third, and fourth place finishers receiving $500 each.

City of Prince Albert Arts and Culture coordinator Judy MacLeod Campbell said they’re excited to have both designs on city apparel.

“The two designs chosen are amazing images representing our city,” MacLeod Campbell wrote in an email to the Herald. “Orlanda’s design is a simplistically strong image for our community. Tia’s Little Red River Park detailed design showcases this incredible park of ours. I can’t wait to get both.”

Flett’s design is already getting attention outside of Prince Albert. She originally grew up in Cumberland House, and said friends, family, and supporters in the community are already looking to purchase apparel for themselves.

“P.A., Kistahpinanikh, is the place where people have been meeting for generations,” Flett said. “Other people from other places are proud of P.A., and a part of P.A. as well.

“It (the design) extends further than our community, and I’m excited to see it out there.”