Keitha Brass, our President of the Community Outreach Management Centre in Fort Qu'Appelle, leads three beading classes this spring. From choosing materials to cutting patterns, Keitha guides us, in our many stages of experience, on a beading journey.
We drink tea. Eat cookies. Laugh. Visit. Relax. (Oh. My. Goodness. I haven't relaxed for weeks.)
People drop in. Family shows up. Keitha leans over her grandson's beading and offers a little help. I tease my dad. My mom teases herself , quoting her grade nine Home Economics Teacher, "Mary, if you ever get anything right, I'll die."
We make flowers. Sunshine. Footprints. Monsters. Medallions.
"This is what they missed at Residential School," says Lisa Cook who is there with her daughter, Talisa. "Just being together and sharing these moments."
Everyone in the circle nods, keeps eyes on the tiny, colourful beads at our fingertips. Each of us is quiet. Some of us have immediate relatives who were in Residential School; some of us do not. Keitha, herself, is a Residential School survivor.
I scoop four red beads onto the needle. I pull the thread tight, poke the needle back into the blue-felt, then I tack the beads down.
I am thankful for this playful and creative space. I am happy to sit at the table, accepting another gift from the peoples of this land. I am humbled by the teachings of this circle, of friendship, of family. I am committed to stepping into spaces of reconciliation, one little white footprint at a time.
Keitha choosing supplies from Bucks Dollar Store
Talisa and her mom, Lisa Cook
Mary, my mom, with Talisa and Lisa in the background.
Shantel and Mark, Keitha's grandchildren, with Keitha in the foreground.
My little, beaded blue-felt footprint.
When I message Lisa Cook, to see if I am quoting her right, she writes back the following:
"Sounds nice. I was enjoying the feeling of togetherness. The way we were sharing stories, laughing, bonding... I never went to residential school. Just the thought of what a child would miss being away from home (being away from their immediate family, relatives and community). It (our beading together) was a awesome feeling."