The Land remembers: Beading as reflection

Buffalo Place (Beadwork by Raechel Wastesicoot/NCC staff)

Buffalo Place (Beadwork by Raechel Wastesicoot/NCC staff)

September 26, 2023 | by Raechel Wastesicoot

My identity, culture, the Kanyen'kéha language, our traditions and stories are all based on the Land and how Mother Earth has and continues to support us. When I partake in any aspect of my culture, and specifically in my beadwork, I think of and reflect on nature. Inspiration from my work comes from the Land; from the sea, to the forest, to wildlife. The most important relationship in my life is the one I have with nature, and this connection is deeply woven in my beadwork.

Owls (barn owl and spotted owl) (Beadwork by Raechel Wastesicoot/NCC staff)

Owls (barn owl and spotted owl) (Beadwork by Raechel Wastesicoot/NCC staff)

While each Indigenous person connects to their identity in their own ways, for me, I feel mostly guided by nature. Not only does time in nature have proven health benefits for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples, but there is a cultural healing quality within the Land that has existed for Indigenous Peoples since time immemorial. I take to the Land when I reflect and remember the little ones who did not make it home and the Survivors who are with us today. I think about my ancestors every time I sit down to bead, and I think about them when I am on the Land.

It is through my art that I can best communicate what my head, heart and soul are feeling. The language spoken through beadwork is the same to me as the language spoken by nature. I hear stories in both. Stories of pain, darkness, survival, resilience, hope, community and celebration. They are all part of our journey as Indigenous people and are woven together to create a rich tapestry.

More of Raechel’s beadwork can be found @wolfwmnbeads.

Raechel Bonomo (Photo by Chase Wastesicoot)

About the Author

Raechel Wastesicoot is the manager, internal communications and culture at the Nature Conservancy of Canada.

Read more about Raechel Wastesicoot.

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