Colouring It Forward:  The Birth From A Dream

Small Business Canada

Colouring It Forward works with Indigenous artists and elders to create original books, cards, and notebooks that tell the other side of Indigenous people’s stories, hopes, and a different future. They are more than a colouring book; they serve as a gathering place for people to share their tales and Native Canadian art and form a community.

A Socially Responsible Enterprise

Colouring It Forward is a social enterprise comprised of a nonprofit organization called CIF Reconciliation Society and a business called Colouring It Forward Inc. Through a grassroots approach, the social enterprise hopes to enhance education on Indigenous concerns, art, language, and culture.

CIF Reconciliation Society collaborates with IndigeSTEAM, Stardale Women’s Group, and others to create art-based workshops and activities that promote healing and reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.

They organize an annual Orange Shirt Day walk and event called “Pokaiks the Children.” In addition, they also organize the Language Apps program for Indigenous Youth in partnership with IndigeSTEAM and Red Iron Labs.

Colouring It Forward board members include elder Joyce Healy, elder Marilyn Shingoose, Tapisa Kilabuk, Oli Siska, Victoria Marchbank, and Diana Frost.

The Inspiration Behind Colouring It Forward

Diana Frost is the Project Engineer and CEO of Colouring It Forward. 

She is originally from Quebec and spent her teenage years in Western Africa, an early awakening to different cultures and the difficulties of living in a developing country. She earned her degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Sherbrooke, intending to help people improve their living standards by working on water and sanitation projects.

She began her career with Enbridge in Edmonton, where, at the age of 26, she became the youngest Rotarian of her club, the Edmonton Avenue of Nations Rotary Club. Following her time in Edmonton, she moved to Peru to work as a volunteer for two years on optimizing existing water and sewer systems.

She returned to Alberta after the end of her contract to work for CAWST, where she pioneered train-the-trainer programs on household water purification projects throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.

Diana then worked for Calgary consulting engineering businesses on water distribution and treatment systems and joined the Rotary Club of the Calgary Olympics thereafter. 

Diana is an Algonquin Métis, an artist, and a musician, in addition to being an engineer.

In the spring of 2016, she founded Colouring It Forward after waking up from a dream where she was shown how to help Indigenous people.

The Accolades Of Perseverance 

Diana Frost won the 2022 CITE Leadership Award for her work on reconciliation through the arts, including the annual Pokaiks Commemorative Event, art exhibits, and more. In addition, Colouring It Forward was the recipient of the What’s Next YYC—People’s Choice Award in 2021, presented by the Trico Foundation to support social enterprise.

They became one of the finalists for the Indigenous Entrepreneur of the Year award at the CanadianSME National Business Awards. In 2018, the Economic Development Council of Alberta also selected them for the Social Enterprise of the Year Laurel. 

Colouring It Forward is an Indigenous-led social enterprise that creates colouring books that include Indigenous art and wisdom from elders. They are a Canadian company that donates profits to Indigenous social projects. They are a 100% Indigenous social enterprise that donates proceeds from its sales to Indigenous social projects.

Colouring It Forward is more than just a colouring book; it’s a platform where people can share their tales and Native Canadian art. To learn more about their work and initiatives, visit their website at

Indigenous entrepreneurs strive to uplift their communities and contribute to economic reconciliation in all their endeavors. To read more about these topics, subscribe to Indigenous SME Business Magazine and for the latest updates, check our Twitter page @IndigenousSme.

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