Last year, I created a piece called Peyakwahkotawin - it means “one family”. It is a flower with individual petals; they each need one another in order for the flower to be complete. The center of the flower is a pendant made up of colours found in every petal. I wanted whoever wore one pair of earrings or pendant to know that another person will wear the other and they will probably be totally different people, but they will always need each other for this flower to be complete.
I’ve been wanting to recreate it and redesign it ever since, but the timing never felt right. Several weeks ago, I finally felt pulled to create another one - this time entirely on moose hide.
There have been things weighing on my heart. I don’t think the heaviness and trauma from the residential schools is going to go away any time soon. Different things keep happening that threaten my belief that we are Peyakwahkotawin - from the way that we haven’t been able to give relief to our relatives being abused at the border (who are just trying to come into this country and receive our love and hope), to Ted Cruz falsely claiming - and getting too much support - on the obscenely racist idea that immigrants to the south are to blame for a rise in Covid (when we as a country can’t even commit to mask-wearing, let alone getting vaccinated ourselves), to the voter suppression that has happened and will still happen, to the current Vice President telling people “don’t come”, yet we boast being the greatest country on earth but expect people not to come and try share our dreams.
I am an idealist at heart, but even I have been overwhelmed at how our collective earth family is sowing so much discord.
All of those things have been on my heart while making this reimagined version of the Peyakwahkotawin Flower. More than ever, we need to behave as if we are one family.
Would you let your family be stuck in a cage?
Would you let your family seek for Justice against genocide alone?
Would you tell your family not to come and create a better future?
If we are one family, wouldn’t we do everything we could - use our every resource - to help?
This Flower is for the helpers.