Other & Professionals

Originally From

Calgary, Alberta

Years in Current


Years in


in Calgary

Patti's Story

Patti Derbyshire is the co-founder of Otahpiaaki and an Associate Professor in Marketing, Entrepreneurship, and Social Innovation at Mount Royal University.  For one week each fall designers, artists, and community members from our 760+ First Nations, Métis, Northern, and Inuit communities gather in Mohkínstsis-Calgary to present, exchange and celebrate their rich cultural commons.  Otahpiaaki includes three fashion runways, workshops, panels, music and film. 

Her program of research, framed by Sahpahtsimah (--collaborating in a good way), is focused on platforming and the appreciation and protection of Indigenous beauty, fashion, and design. Anchored by concepts of deep beauty, economic development, and highly individualistic creative practices, Derbyshire co-designs and facilitates multiple projects with her academic partner and friend Jeannie Pooksinawaakii Smith-Davis (Little Chief Woman) and teams of Indigenous and non-Indigenous students.  

Patti is an intersectional thinker drawing upon human ecology, systems thinking, and Siksikaitsitapii worldviews. She is a student of the Blackfoot language and Poo’miikapii, collective harmony, balance and unity, at the University of Calgary. She is heavily influenced by and accountable to Marie Battiste’s vision of post-colonial education. She is a Visiting Scholar at the University of Alberta in the Department of Human Ecology (Clothing, Textiles and Material Culture). She is also a graduate student in Human Ecology at the University of British Columbia. Her research there examines Indigenous creative and cultural sovereignty as a member of the newly established Chinook Network at [email protected] The project explores Blockchain as a solution to the documentation, protection and litigation of intellectual property, other elements of the cultural commons, and the custodianship transferred to and held by Indigenous designers, artists and communities.



Patti is a member of Team Calgary, Calgary Economic Development’s corporate partnership program. Team Calgary engages visionary business leaders to shape the future of Calgary.

Why Calgary?

"Indigenous beauty, fashion and design is one of the most powerful ways to build relationships between Indigenous design champions and their markets. The cultural commons and artistic practices of Indigenous communities are experiencing an extraordinary resurgence. Otahpiaaki is a resource at the forefront of this movement, celebrating, promoting and protecting Indigenous design as it moves from local to global markets."

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Senior Account Executive at Pattison Outdoor Advertising

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Kristine Neil

Partner at Stone-Olafson

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Arlene Dickinson

General Partner at District Ventures

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