Join Jeannine Walker, Christina Green-Speck and Charlene Everson from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. May 14-15 at The Abbey in Cumberland for a beading workshop, related stories, and potluck meal and discussion.
Gwax’ Dzi Dsas, a partnership between Dawn to Dawn (D2D) and the Comox Valley Transition Society (CVTS), is an affordable housing project situated in what is now known as Cumberland on the traditional unceded territory of K’omoks First Nations.
D2D has also partnered with K‘omoks First Nation for Rainbow House – safe, peer supported housing for 2SLGBTQ youth between the ages of 16-28.
Indigenization is a process of naturalizing Indigenous knowledge systems, and making them evident to transform spaces, places and hearts. This can be accomplished through cultural practices, and the presence of Indigenous art, knowledge keepers, programming and native plant systems.
The goal of Gwax’ Dzi Dsas and Rainbow House is to incorporate into the design and landscape of the project this Indigenous presence.
Christina Green-Speck is one of two queer peer support workers for D2D.
Body sovereignty and land sovereignty are interrelated. Before colonization , indigenous relations and intimacy were more fluid. Settler notions of private property , church ,marriage and households imposed a heteronormative, patriarchal structure on indigenous life.
The weaponization of sex through the church imposed on Indigenous children resulted in sexuality being associated with shame.
Today, many creative cultural and artistic efforts led by Indigenous persons – including beadwork – are creating a framework for sharing knowledge , across boundaries; a return to a more fluid, holistic and joyful approach.
Beading Across Boundaries will share stories including ideas of land sovereignty and body sovereignty. The beading workshop will be led by Jeannine Walker, who carries the ceremonial name Aabawasige, and has ancestral roots branching from the Anishinaabe, Cree, Norwegian and Scottish peoples.
Walker is an Indigenous educator within the local school district. Beading has been a passion for Jeannine since her childhood, as she was taught by her grandmother at a young age and has grown her appreciation for traditional and contemporary styles of beadwork since then.
“Beading is a healing activity that holds space for connection to the land, those around us and to our ancestors,” said Walker. “The repetitive nature of stringing beads allows time for conversation and connection and what comes from the process can be expressive and emotional. I love sharing my teachings within the community and am grateful for this opportunity through Gwax’ Dzi Dsas to share my passion.”
Charlene Everson will be sharing Pentlatch stories of strength and unity. Everson was born and raised in Comox and is a member of the K’omoks First Nation.
Charlene carries the name Xanusa’mega from the Gigelgam Walas Kwakiutl. She and her family are active participants in the cultural traditions of the Kwa’kwa’kawakw or Kwakiutl speaking peoples.
Christina Green is from the Ławit´sis, Ma’a̱mtagila tribes of the Kwakwa̱ka̱’wakw, as well as Tahltan and Tsimshian. Christina identifies as non-binary and uses the pronouns they/them/theirs.
They were raised by their maternal grandparents Alberta and Johnny Speck-hereditary Ławit´sis chief. Through this upbringing Christina has been able absorb cultural teachings daily including language, dances, songs, art forms, and history. Christina lives in the Comox Valley and commutes to Nanaimo to attend VIU where they are working towards their bachelor’s degree in anthropology.
The impact of colonialization, with its attempted eradication of native cultures, has translated into troubling statistics for present-day First Nation communities. Residential schools, the outlawing of life-cycle ceremonies, policies that enforced assimilation to pan-European culture – all contributed to a loss of knowledge and a legacy of trauma. Indigenous people have higher rates of teen pregnancy, HIV infection, child sexual abuse and sexually transmitted disease and infection than the general population.
Funding for this project was provided through a BC Community Arts and Development grant.
Registration is limited to 12 people. The workshop is free but participants are asked to bring a dish to share as part of their investment.
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