Meet Kahente Horn-Miller, an associate professor in Carleton’s School of Indigenous and Canadian Studies. Kahente is hosting weekly virtual bead nights with Indigenous faculty, friends and students from different places.
In the past, these bead nights have taken place in her home. Now, Kahente is using Zoom to bring the group together and brining in some new beaders from a distance. For a few hours in the early evening, the group logs on and beads.
“Beading for many of us is meditative,” shares Kahente. “Often, we do it in isolation, as a way to get our minds out of the everyday and focused on something else.”
Kahente hopes the virtual bead nights will lessen feelings of loneliness, and keep the group connected and thinking about other things.
“In this time when we can’t be together physically, we can connect virtually, and sometimes that is enough,” says Kahente.
“In my case, my children pop in to the scene as well and greet my friends online. This really is about family and connections.”
The group chats while they bead, about everything from their work, to their students, to their own beadwork and memories.
“Beading is also a very creative outlet,” shares Kahente. “It is an expression of your inner self — in the colours, the pattern, the stories we tell each other or think about as we bead.”
“In my piece, you can see raised beadwork in the flower. This is characteristic of the Haudenosaunee. My ancestors did this on what we call beaded fancies that we sold at the Worlds Fair. So, what I am doing is in homage to them.
“I actually think a lot about that as I am beading these days. How my ancestors survived diseases, famine and yet kept our beautiful traditions alive.”
Kahente plans to continue hosting virtual bead nights to bring people together, and she also has plans for the project she has been working on.
“This will be a very meaningful piece for me,” shares Kahente. “I plan on wearing it to convocation to honour the ancestors and students.”
Beadwork photos provided by Kahente Horn-Miller.
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