Stories of The Moon
Seed beads on wool double cloth, 2019.
Stories of the Moon is my own interpretation of the Mackinaw jacket as a memory holder dedicated to my Aabitaawizininiwag ancestors and the land(s) where they lived. The phrases found on the sleeves of the jacket are words from a journal entry I found written by my late grandmother in 1979. The journal entry recounted family memories of herself, my father, my grandfather, and my great-grandfather travelling up to the Moon River (Ontario) to visit the Aabitaawizininiwag settlement where my great-grandfather was born. In November of 2019, I retraced my grandmother’s entry by travelling up to the Moon River with my father and spending time on the land. I then wrote my own journal entry. The words found on the outside of the jacket are fragments of both mine and my grandmother’s written memory. A series of beaded text is also found on the inside linings of the sleeves. Those phrases are deeply personal and are only for my skin to feel and my heart to know.
This jacket is also a dedication to all Halfbreed / Métis sewers whose recognition of craftmanship and incredible garment construction skills were stolen and silenced from them through the colonial project. The Mackinaw jacket was originally sewn by Halfbreed / Métis women sewers in 1811 on St. Joseph’s Island, with the style later patented by American clothing company Filson.
I am grateful to Dylan Miner and the conversations we shared in which informed the historical context of this work.