By Erika Mathieu
Sunny South News
Katelyn Low Horn is bringing a beading workshop to Coalhurst. In partnership with the Coalhurst Parks and Recreation Society, the workshop will be an opportunity for participants to learn more about beading as a tradition and craft. According to Low Horn, participants can expect an, “evening of learning about the Blackfoot Culture and history of our people, our traditions such as tanning hides, beading, quilling, sewing, through stories and knowledge that have been passed down through generations.”
Low Horn, born and raised in southern Alberta, said she comes from, Ii’tai’pookaiks, which is also called, “The Many Children’s Clan,” in Kainai, and is, “also known as the Blood Tribe First Nation,” or the Blackfoot Confederacy.
She explained for her, the tradition of beading is rooted in her family lineage. “I’ve been beading since I was a young girl, watching my grandmother, Naatowakii, and my great grandmother Ksiikawotaan bead moccasins et cetera.” Low Horn added the skill and tradition has, “been passed on through my grandmothers and my great grandmothers and so on.” In addition to the intergenerational connection to the craft, Low Horn said the skill and tradition of beading was, “taught in my schools growing up so that was a huge help and (something) I’ll forever be grateful for.”
While modern beading supplies and techniques have changed, the Blackfoot people have historically used what was readily available to achieve ornamentation of their garments.
“Before the beads were introduced to our people, we used porcupine quills to adorn our clothing, regalia, moccasins etc.,” explained Low Horn.
“There are a lot of misconceptions about our culture,” said Low Horn, and the workshop provides a great opportunity to learn about the modern and historic context of the Blackfoot ways and traditions. With reference to beading, Low Horn said one of the main misconceptions, “is that just woman beaded. The men beaded as well. Just like tanning hides, quilling, etc.”
Low Horn explained that the tradition of beading, having survived and been passed down through generations, provides an important historical connection to tradition, while also presenting the opportunity to ensure the tradition continues on with younger generations. “It is very special to me because I have that opportunity to pass the teaching on to my children so they pass it on to their children. That’s how we keep our traditions alive, it will live on forever through us and the generations to come. It will never be forgotten.”
The “Learn from your Neighbour” Workshop will take place on Tuesday June 21, in celebration of Indigenous Peoples Day. Katelyn Low Horn will guide participants through how to make their own beaded pouch and teach you about its cultural significance. Details on the upcoming workshop can be found on the Coalhurst Parks and Recreation Society’s Facebook account.
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