Beadwork is intentional. You have to tack down every bead you string. It can take hours, weeks, months and even years to complete projects. Beadwork not only displays beautiful, complex and colourful imagery, it carries those stories told to us by our parents, grandparents and ancestors whose blood memory we keep alive through continuing the practice.
Bronwyn Butterfield (Métis / Settler) is a beadwork artist living in Winnipeg on Treaty 1 territory. The settler side of her family is mixed European, while the Métis (Cree-Métis-Scottish) side of her family is originally from Norway House, Manitoba. She is proud to come from a long line of artists, beadworkers, embroiderers, trappers and hunters. While these strong traditions have been briefly interrupted by colonialism, Bronwyn’s hope is to carry on the traditions to honour her ancestors, and to pass them on to future generations. Her beadwork carries the lessons she has been taught by her teachers, Elders, friends and beadwork community. The designs draw inspiration from her relationship with the land, and are also heavily inspired by traditional Métis floral patterns. Bronwyn hopes to challenge the idea that beadwork is something that is historic and stagnant, using traditional methods to create contemporary designs.
Dustin Henry (Tukudh First Nation / Settler) started beading to carry on tradition. Dustin comes from a family of beaders on his dads side who live up in Dawson City, Yukon. The government of “canada” claims he is Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in First Nation on paper. Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in means “people of the river” in Hän language. Dustin recently discovered through his Auntie Dolores that they are Tukudh, which means “mountain people” in Hän. For Indigenous peoples, growing up in a colonial system is confusing and it is difficult to stay connected to your culture and traditions. This is why he wanted to share the beautiful tradition of beadwork. Beadwork is not an arts and crafts. It is part of his family culture and traditions. It is a spiritual way to stay connected to his ancestors and carry it on. Mähsį Cho.
Dustin’s beadwork can be found at @drin_hozo on instagram.
Landon Avramovic (Dane-zaa Cree - Duncan’s First Nation) is from Tk’emlups (Kamloops, BC) and is currently living on the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh , xʷməθkʷəy̓əm territory (Vancouver B.C). His family is from Northern BC close by the Peace River. Inspired by his family and close friends, he finds beading a great way to reconnect with his roots!