Across Turtle Island, young Indigenous artists are beading and using their platforms to support the continuation of their culture and to advocate for their communities.
On social media, particularly Instagram, beaders can connect in a way that their ancestors weren’t able to and frequently bring awareness to community triumphs and challenges through various means such as awareness campaigns and beadwork raffles to raise funds for community efforts.
The beading community allows creators to learn from others, and to support their relations. It also allows the broader Indigenous and non-Indigenous community to be exposed to important topics and conversations they may otherwise not be aware of.
Indigenous artists are consistently asserting their values and advocating for their place in the artist community and this blog outlines just a few of the endless ways that beadwork can be a means for advocacy.
Beadwork can also be a method for raising money and awareness for community.
Indigenous creators will often host raffles with a piece of beadwork as the prize or donate a percentage of their sales to community causes.
Some recent fundraisers have supported residential school survivors and land defence efforts.
This type of advocacy enables artists to support various community efforts that matter to them while encouraging others to do the same.
Practicing beadwork can be a way for Indigenous youth to reclaim their traditions and culture, and to feel more connected to their community.
Many creators support new Indigenous artists by doing workshops, and sharing tips and tricks they have learned over the years. Some artists will also run campaigns to collect beading supplies and donations to provide other beaders with supplies that they otherwise wouldn’t have access to it.
Read Tayvie Van Eeuwen’s story on how beading has made space for cultural reclamation and healing here.
Many Indigenous beaders use their platform to educate their followers on current events, the importance of supporting Indigenous businesses and topics such as cultural appropriation versus cultural appreciation.
Upcoming Event: Beadwork as Advocacy
Join us on August 11th at 6pm EST to hear our panellists on how they use beading to empower their communities and raise awareness on Indigenous issues across the country!
Click here for the event link