Unreserved

How Indigenous artisans are using traditional crafts to reclaim their culture

This week on Unreserved, Indigenous people who relearn traditional crafts, like beadwork or making mitts and moccasins, are sewing pieces of their culture back together, one stitch, one bead and one quill at a time.
Handmade mukluks, pictured left, made by Alley Yapput, and on the right, one of the quillwork pieces created by Cheryl Simon. (Submitted by Alley Yapput, Cheryl Simon)

This week on Unreserved, Indigenous people who relearn traditional crafts, like beadwork or making mitts and moccasins, are sewing pieces of their culture back together, one stitch, one bead and one quill at a time.

After facing a devastating family loss, Alley Yapput moved to Thunder Bay, Ont., to be closer to his mom, Madeline. But this Ojibway/Cree two-spirit artisan found his newly retired mom wasn't doing much with her time. So he picked up his needles and beads and "passed up" the traditional craft of beadwork and moccasin-making, creating a stronger bond in the process.

Mi'kmaq have been making quill art for generations. This intricate and painstaking process involves softening, dying and weaving porcupine quills onto birchbark.

Cheryl Simon and Kay Sark are artists from Epekwitk, also known as Prince Edward Island. Not only has this ancient artform helped them find their way to culture, they also share their knowledge on a podcast. The CBC's Isabelle Gallant tells their story in her documentary Meet the Quill Sisters.

This week's playlist:

That's Everything We Need - Isaac Murdoch featuring Matt Epp.

Run - Once A Tree



 

now