CONTRIBUTION · 2nd June 2012
Below is a contribution from a local First Nations woman that overcame stereotypes and obstacles, we would love to have more contributions of "Success as an Indian" stories.
Any Hereditary Success Story, young or old should be honored and respected. Please submit profiles of anyone you know that you are proud of.
As with Una, an inspiring woman travelling a hereditary, from the heart path, we wish to feature individuals with a strong will, a sharp mind and cultural respect.
Here is her story:
I was born in Prince Rupert and lived there until I was eight years old. My family moved to Stewart BC, for six years and for me this meant from Grade 4 to Grade 10. We then moved to Terrace, where I went to Caledonia Secondary and graduated in 1977.
I remember in high school I loved my art class. That is where I first explored different mediums.
After high school I moved to Prince Rupert and worked at Boots Drugstore in Rupert Square. I enjoyed working in the cosmetic department and decided I wanted to go to school to be a Makeup Artist.
I left Prince Rupert for Vancouver in 1978 to take a Cosmetology course at the Vancouver Vocational Institute.
To further my career I took modeling courses at Blanche McDonalds and John Casablancas. I worked as a Cosmetologist for several years until I started a family.
My major involvement with First Nations Art started in 1995 when my children started school.
My younger brother, Fred Moyer, who was carving jewellery and masks, was my greatest influence. I would ask him to create designs for me to put on t-shirts, boxes and giftware.
This expanded when I started working for the Langley School District (LSD #35) as a Cultural Presenter. I found that I had to learn quickly to be able to share with teachers, support workers and students.
I then learned how to design and started facilitating workshops, making traditional design vests, moose hide pouches, moccasins, tote bags with first nation designs and Regalia, to name but a few.
I have done so much over the years and I welcome opportunities to expand and share about my culture and who I am as an artist.
I am grateful to the LSD #35 Aboriginal Program for encouraging me to be a role model and allowing me to continue to share my gifts with students, teachers, and support workers.
When my mother told me that my grandfather was part Tlingit and that I should honour him, I decided to make regalia that resembled the Chilkat robe. I studied the design, created and painted it on leather. Then, two years ago now, I put on a feast and brought out my new Regalia for the dance group I belong to.
This is the same Regalia that I designed my Terracotta Warrior, pictured above, from.
In the pictures below; the family photo shows my Mother with my brother and sisters. Left to right are; Fred Moyer, Cassandra Puckett, Lillian Campbell, Una-Ann Moyer and Gerri Cook.
Next is of me wearing my red dime blanket. Instead of buttons I used dimes to embellish my blanket. The story behind this blanket is how I kept finding dimes. When I mentioned this to my Mother she suggested I ask an elder. This Tahltan elder told me years ago they used to embellish their blankets with coins.
In one photo, I am wearing a red cedar woven headband, gifted to me for the work that I did at a Coast Salish wedding. The silver piece in the front I received by trading two vests I made for it.
In the other I am wearing a red cedar hat that my daughter, Brittany Hickson, made. It is traditional when you make something for the first time that you give it away. Choose whichever one you think would work the best.
Attached below are some of my paintings:
- Bear & Cub - painting on a drum
- Hummingbird dance - 16x20 acrylic on canvas
- Eagle painting - 16x20acrylic on canvas
- Traditional Bear/w Salmon - 36x48 acrylic on canvas
I have included a photo of M'Girl when we performed in Ottawa at the Museum of Civilization and a photo of me wearing an eagle mask that my brother carved performing with the Git Hayetsck.
It makes me proud to be able to share my artwork, and my journey with others. My passion for working with youth is to be able to help them be all they can be and be proud of who they are. If I make a little difference I feel I have done my job.
my Mother with my brother and sisters. left to right Fred Moyer, Cassandra Puckett, Lillian Campbell, Una-Ann Moyer, Gerri Cook
I am wearing a red cedar woven headband, gifted to me for the work that I did at a coast salish wedding.
photo of M'Girl when we performed in Ottawa at the Museum of Civilization
Me wearing the eagle mask that my brother carved performing with the Git Hayetsck.