So, I want to try my best not to sound overly cheesy, but I don’t think that’s possible. Today was a gift. My entire cohort are full of friendly smiling people. We were welcomed into the studio, The Weaving House, that was created by Chief Janice George and Elder Buddy Joseph; a space that they have created to participate in resurgence and practice the skills that their ancestors held.
We started the morning off listening to Chief Janice and Buddy share their stories and why weaving is important to them and their nation. My whole body tingled as they spoke of Residential Schools, roots, family, and story telling. I was especially touched when Chief Janice said “if there is something you want to ask someone, do it now; learn while you can.” That got me thinking of my grandparents and how they have so much left to teach me about their past and their favourite stories and adventures.
We spent approximately 3 hours weaving. It was frustrating, aggravating, rewarding, meditative, and soothing. I experienced various waves of emotions as my fingers fumbled with yarn. Chief Janice shared that many weavings, especially those worn in ceremony, are filled with prayers. I am not a spiritual person, but I made sure to respect the space. I thought about my family, those still with me and those that have passed on. I weaved in stories that ran through my head and wishes that I have for the future.
At the end of our day together, we thanked our hosts and each other for such a rewarding experience. Even though it was a mere 6 hours, I began to learn a lot about myself. I came out of my shell. I initiated conversation. I bonded with Amal: a man who likes rice pudding just about as much as I do.
When I got home, I hung my woven wall hanging next to this macramé owl that my mum made when she was in high school. Although my piece is full of mistakes caused by losing my patience, I am proud of what I created.
Tomorrow is our retreat at Camp Capilano. We will be spending 36 hours together and I don’t feel as nervous as I usually am about new experiences.