How beadwork and art is used to tell contemporary stories and across cultures with Wampum-an aboriginal story-telling methods. It is interesting to think of visual arts and crafts as historiographies. Wampum alone challenges the existing written forms as the only “valid” records of our history.
“CBC: Carolina Echeverria, you asked artists participating in the Beadwork exhibit to draw inspiration from the aboriginal story-telling method called Wampum. What is Wampum?
Carolina Echeverria: Wampum is a method that Native people have used to record things like peace treaties, which took white people thousands of pages to write. First Nations people condensed it all into one beaded image. The flip side is that Canadians often did not respect the treaties, because they said they were not written. But a wampum is in fact a written record…”
This is how Christi Belcourt used her art for an education setting founded on a First Nation story: Sacred Fisher Story. This mural project is actually a tool guide for educators and students across Ontario based on First Nation teachings and knowledge. Lesson plans are provided, and much more.
Nancy Turner addresses the importance of biodiversity and its importance to First Nations in maintaining the same and enhancing it throughout the history.
She goes on to say:
“Not only is biodiversity important in food systems, technology, and medicine, but plants, animals and fungi are also prominent in First Nations’ belief systems, art, songs and ceremonies (Turner 1988, 2005). Ceremonial species and those featured in art and narrative are often the same ones that had practical application (Garibaldi and Turner 2004). The richness of Northwest Coast First Peoples’ intense connections with biodiversity is reflected perhaps most famously in their world- renowned artforms representing stylized animals, birds, fish and other beings, in magnificent wooden sculptures, totempoles, masks and dishes, as well as in exquisite jewelry and paintings (cf. Holm 1965, 1990; MacDonald 1996).
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