From beaded cat clothes to plant knowledge: Indigenous people pick up skills during pandemic

This week on Unreserved, how Indigenous people are learning traditional skills to beat the quarantine blues. 
Cheryl Simon (left) and her seven-year-old daughter Carolyn are using porcupine quills to make art. When her mom couldn't come to her class to teach the students how to quill due to COVID-19, Carolyn stepped in. (Emma Smith/CBC)

It's been almost a year since the pandemic forced a significant change in our lifestyle on Turtle Island. 

Many Indigenous people have been using their extended time at home to learn new skills and feel closer to their identity — whether it was through moose hide tanning, learning a language, or beadwork.

This week on Unreserved, how Indigenous people are learning traditional skills to beat the quarantine blues. 

Open Space Arts Society launched a series called "online / on land" with several people doing walking tours on Instagram. Eli Hirtle curated the series to help Indigenous people maintain their connection to the land.

Many Indigenous folks are learning to bead during the pandemic, but how about beading clothes for a cat? Shelby Adams from Akwesasne made a tiny beaded vest for her cat, Anna — and it's as cute as you can imagine. 

If you've always wanted to learn quillwork, why not let seven-year-old Carolyn Simon teach you? Her mother, Cheryl Simon, usually does a tutorial for students at Hawthorne Elementary School in Dartmouth, N.S. — but since she couldn't due to COVID-19, Carolyn stepped in.

Marjorie Black wanted to learn how to tan moose hides so badly she picked up her life and relocated from Behchoko, NWT to Fort Smith to learn from her father-in-law. 

TikTok star Shina Novalinga uses her massive platform to showcase herself learning how to throat sing with her mother. But she also uses it to educate her followers about Inuit culture, too.

In spending more time at home, some people are learning their Indigenous language. Unreserved's Kyle Muzyka talks about learning Nehiyawewin, or Cree, and how it has helped him further his connection to the land. 

This week's playlist:

The Jerry Cans. (Courtesy The Jerry Cans)

An Illustrated Mess — Quarantine Dreaming

Adrian Sutherland — Respect the Gift

The Jerry Cans — Swell (My Brother)