Cedar Circle, an Indigenous youth leadership group and their allies, meet weekly at Cedar Hill Middle School. In response to the COVID safety guidelines and restrictions this year, the kids decided to focus on contemporary beads and beading as a bridge to community. They started by making polymer clay beads as gifts to the preschool program at the Victoria Native Friendship Centre. With the virtual guidance of Alli Matchett (Secwepemc), they taught themselves how to bead on felted patches. There was one criterion: bead an image that makes you happy. While beading, we talked about how happiness may be something that you don’t ever fully reach; instead, it could be a feeling or moment strung between other moments.
Their installation speaks to the ways that we sew the moments of our lives together: tragedy alongside celebration, sadness alongside joy. Their work is in progress, signifying the many beaded moments just ahead of them, sparkling with opportunity. Their work, like them, is a process of becoming, as well as a signpost of hope. They beaded for the things they want to look forward to, post pandemic and beyond. Through this process, the Cedar Circle kids discovered that when they showed up to bead, or make beads, they also collectively envisioned a better future together.