I attended a workshop on Indigenous beading offered by the Francophone Indigenous designer of Ojibwe Anishinaabe Kwe descent Stephanie Peltier in December 2020.
The goal of this practical workshop on creating earrings was to introduce the technique of Indigenous beading to us. This activity opened my eyes to a culture that is still very much alive and that has survived for centuries. Before taking this practical training, I had never had the chance to practise beadwork. I learned a lot about not only Indigenous culture but also this unique art. I feel privileged in a way because we don’t often have the chance to immerse ourselves in a culture different from our own.
As a Chantiers jeunesse ambassador, I participated in this workshop to learn about a new culture and a new art form. The activity was split into two 1.5-hour sessions. A set including all the necessary elements was given to the participants. We were about fifteen in the Zoom call. Step by step, the designer offered us tips to improve. We also had the chance to learn about her culture through our discussions. I loved everything we did. Through art, I was able to see that our differences can become a strength since bridges are made between nations by sharing traditions. So, everyone should make the effort to reach out to the other and build a society filled with love for one another.
We shouldn’t forget that difference is our ally and it’s what allows us to change the world in which we live.
Looking at my precious creation a few weeks later, I was able to put what I learned into perspective. The workshop made me realize that we must help others accept the First Nations culture and its differences. Being an ambassador for Chantiers jeunesse, I’m thrilled at the idea of having been able to experience this. We shouldn’t forget that difference is our ally and it’s what allows us to change the world in which we live.
In the future, I would like to use the skills and knowledge that I have acquired to close the gap between Indigenous people and the society in which they live with my actions at Chantiers jeunesse. An experience of this kind surely should have been given in person, but it was still as successful and instructive online. I will cherish these fond memories as this workshop also made me aware of the Indigenous reality that is not taught in schools. As a result, I will now use my leadership to promote their difference and make them the leaders of tomorrow.
Remember: we’re all responsible for promoting the inclusion of the First Nations
I also took some pictures to show you the fruits of my labour. I hope you will love my beautiful earrings as I love them. Remember: we’re all responsible for promoting the inclusion of the First Nations. Step into their world—you won’t be disappointed! Challenge yourself to help Indigenous people and tag us so we can see what you did!
Élise Pilote – CJ Ambassador