If you look online for the translation of the word “art” in most Indigenous languages it probably does not exist. Our entire way of life from our traditional homes, our clothing, our jewelry, absolutely everything was designed with purpose and to express who were within our communities and land base. So what mainstream society labels as art is actually an embodiment of how we live our day to day lives as Indigenous peoples. Our beadwork, textiles, jewelry, songs, paintings, books and so much more are how we maintain our connection to mother earth, our history, our ancestors and their teachings. It is through these traditional art forms that we are able to embrace the world around us and share who we are in a contemporary society.
It is our hope that as we reach out to one another in dialogue that you will learn that not all Indigenous peoples are the same. We are so much more than the stereotypical Indians you see in the Hollywood movies. We come from different parts of Turtle Island. We are Cree, Dene, Anishinabek, Salteaux, Blackfoot, Metis, Inuit and many, many more. We bring unique stories of the land, the sky and the water. These places are our home and we are more than thrilled to be able to share it with anyone who is curious enough to ask.
Opening up spaces for Indigenous artists to display their work at markets is an act of reconciliation as we have not had those opportunities afforded to us in the past. It is a means of economic reconciliation that we are able to use our creativity and support our families by doing what we love. It creates a safe space for us all to have a dialogue on what our art means to us, our families and community. So next time you’re at the market, please stop by and ask us about our artwork and the love that goes into each piece.