Saturday, February 14, 2009

Reflections from BC on the Koous Collection

The following is a message my friend Irene Robinson from back hooooome in Port Alberni, BC. Both Irene and I are life-long students who champion ways of celebrating our Nuu-chah-nulth roots with our families and communities! This is what she had to say about what the Koous Collection and textile art in Aboriginal Fashion:

I am not sure where this prophecy comes from but I have heard it many times. It is the prophecy of the seventh generation. The version of the prophecy I have heard is that the strength of our people will return in the 7th generation and that visionaries will lead the way. Artists are part of the group of people called visionaries.

I grew up in a time when it was hard to feel proud of who I was as a First Nations woman. Part of reclaiming that pride is being visually present in our heritage. Culturally designed clothing makes a statement to everyone around me that I am a woman who is proud of her heritage. Much the way that other races also make this statement from the wearing of turbans to the use of Black fashions that became very strong in the U.S.A. First Nations Fashions is a very strong, very vibrant, and very quickly growing section of the Fashion Industry and reflects fashions both past and present from the many different Nations across Turtle Island.
I have known J'net for many years and have watched her fashions evolve over time. I am most impressed by the designs she is developing today. They speak of her own imagination and her love of color and beauty.

My sister also creates gorgeous fashions. She recently made a vest for me displaying a traditional dancer. For the outsider that is all they would see. For my sister and I what it represents is our family. In the 1950's and 60's, at a time when it was not easy to be Indian, my mother invited Elders to come to our home and teach my sisters and I how to sing and dance. We learned about the proper way to dance and also about performance dancing. We also lived with ridicule from our peers for doing something that, at the time, was considered primitive and best left in the past. We were among the first of our generation to bring back the pride to our traditional dancing and singing. This dancer represents all that and more to me. When I wear this vest that is what I am thinking about.

cuu Irene

cuu (CHOO) means see you later in our Nuu-chah-nulth language... this might help explain how I end my phone calls and visits with people I meet outside Nuu-chah-nulth territory.

1 comment:

Donna Meness said...

Read the entire 7th Fire Prophesy under "Wolf teachings guide my textile art!

Keep in mind this is one version of the prophesy ( Anishnebeg) the Iroquois League (Oren Lyons) has a similar teaching on seven generations posted on "Celebrating Turtle Island".

A similar prophesy is retold by Black Elk & other indigenous nations throughout the world.
Check out William Commanda, Thomas Bayana & Arvol Lookinghorse at Geneva in 1992