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Mackenzie Brown | Artist of the Month | October 2023

Mackenzie Brown is a First Nations Cree woman from the Sturgeon Lake Cree Nation, currently residing in Otoskwanihk, Calgary. She is a performer, drummer, storyteller, tourism entrepreneur, philanthropist and advocate. Mackenzie and her mom perform as “Warrior Women.” They drum and teach around Alberta and globally for the annual Jasper Dark Skies Festival, International Media Marketplace in New York City, Abidjan Africa for MASA, and more. Along with drumming, Mackenzie is an avid acrylic and mural artist and a traditional First Nations crafts artisan. Her art has been featured in many galleries across Alberta. She has featured murals for the City of Calgary BUMP festival, in Jasper, Edmonton and sold to people traveling worldwide in Jasper National Park.

She recently received the 2019 Esquao Award for Children's Future, 2019 Indigenous Woman of the Year from the Alberta Assembly of First Nations and Top 30 under 30 From Alberta Corporation for Global Cooperation 2020 and MacEwan University's Distinguished Alumni Award 2022. Mackenzie was also recently highlighted as the only Indigenous and Albertan artist on the reality TV show Landscape Artist of the Year Canada, where she placed in the top 3 finalists.

Art Descriptions

Dark Mountain Piece (Nipa Tipisik)

This painting is a depiction of Maligne Lake in Jasper during the night, when the mountains get to sleep. The Northern Lights are beaded onto the canvas.

Buffalo, Acrylic

on canvas

Paskwaw Moostoos symbolizes Respect. The bison is an integral part of many Plain Cultures, including the Nehiyaw. The bison sustains us physically and spiritually.

White Bark Pine Tree Mural

This mural was Mackenzie's largest solo scale mural. Sponsored by Parks Canada, this mural was designed to bring awareness to the Whitebark Pine Tree. The design represents the White Bark Pine Tree and its ecosystem, including the many animals the tree provides habitat for, and the importance of fire for forest ecosystems.

Stoney Plain Mural

This mural was commissioned by the Stony Plain Visitor Information Centre, and Grand Regional Chamber of Commerce.

When I was asked to create a mural, I wanted to make sure that teaching of relationship and kinship beyond human to human connection, but also including the importance of our relationship with Mother Earth and our relations. This piece starts with the gentle Paskwaw Mostos, the bison, the teacher of respect. He is surrounded by a couple different designs, including the Métis sash, the infinity symbol, flower, and the paw prints of our four sacred animals; the eagle, wolf, bison and bear. The sunflower is one of the focal points of the mural, reminding us of shining kindness, light and courage in the work we do. Finally, in the middle are the syllabics, which read Wahkohtowin, kinship and all that this fundamental Cree law has to teach us about taking care of one another.

Check out Mackenzie on Instagram or on her website!

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