Faculty at snəw̓eyəɬ leləm̓ have been using their hands to learn Indigenous weaving practices as part of Weaving Wednesdays organized by the Teaching and Curriculum Development Centre (TCDC). Musqueam artist Rita Point Kompst has been teaching these workshops at various educational and cultural venues around the Lower Mainland. In June, Rita offered two workshops at snəw̓eyəɬ leləm̓ which will be continued with more opportunities for faculty to learn from Indigenous weavers this fall.
After the death of several family members, including her father, former Musqueam Chief and renowned artist Joe Becker, Rita turned to cedar weaving as a medicine to help her in the grieving process. “We have to keep our hands busy for one year after someone passes away,” she says, explaining the teachings from her Elders. Rita prepares delicate cedar strips by harvesting this natural resource which holds spiritual significance for the coastal First Nations. Over and under, pulling snug, and over and under again, demonstrating the weave of the thin strips, Rita guides each learner to create beautiful bracelets, roses, hearts, and baskets.
After a cedar weaving class, one faculty member said, “I valued the opportunity to learn more about Musqueam culture and to do that in an experiential way. I also valued the opportunity to meet faculty outside of my department in a setting where we all could learn something new together and share community in that experience….it is always good (and humbling) to be in the student position and be taught by others.”
TCDC is pleased to offer two more weaving workshops in the fall semester. Chief Janice George will lead a three-hour wool weaving workshop on September 28th and Rita will be back on November 30th for more cedar weaving!
Stay tuned for registration details for Rita’s workshop in the fall.