When I was 10, my family lived in the bush near Whati. One day I saw my mother sewing and I asked her where I could get some beads. She told me I had to start by cutting the uppers before doing the beading. Back then you couldn’t just go to the store to buy beads, so she told me to undo some beads on some other uppers and wash and clean them to reuse them. I have many memories of sitting by the woodstove for light and practiced my sewing.
Today I make lots of different things out of hides, and finish them with beadwork or embroidery. I tan my own hides, cut out my patterns and put them together. I make a lot of things like jackets, gloves, vest and of course, slippers. I also like to make little kids’ wraparounds and moccasins, baby belts and moss bags. If I don’t complete something I can’t stop thinking about it. When I am out walking I think I should just go home and finish it up! It is always on my mind to create art.
I like to teach sewing too to ensure we don’t lose our tradition. There are two young girls who come over on Friday or Saturday nights to sew their own stuff. They are only 8 and 9 years old. When I teach them I talk to them in my language because they can understand even though they speak English. Just like sewing, we have to keep practicing so we don’t lose it.