Breathe.

SEPTEMBER 24 – JANUARY 17, 2021
Inuvialuit Fortitude

Photo credit: Nathalie Bertin

Christina King

Inuvialuit Fortitude

Seal skin, blue fox, ptarmigan feather, birch bark, leather, sequins, fabric, ribbon, bias tape, beads, elastic, chainette, reclaimed metal bag closures

9.75" x 8.5" x 2.25"

Collection of artist

Artist Statement My name is Taalrumiq/Christina King. I am an Inuvialuit woman originally from Tuktoyaktuk, Northwest Territories, Canada. Inuvialuit are the Inuit of the Canadian Western Arctic. My home community is in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region on the shores of the Beaufort Sea/Arctic Ocean. Currently, I am living in Prince George, BC the traditional territory of the Lheidli T'enneh. Although I am far from my ancestral homeland and community, my culture is what inspires my work. Inuvialuit Fortitude Covid-19 Masks These masks are my Inuvialuit response to Covid-19. Over half of our people were wiped out during the Spanish Flu epidemic approximately 100 years ago and we were on the brink of extinction. We had no natural immunity to diseases brought over by European Whalers and Fur Traders. My maternal grandparents were young children who helped fetch water for the sick and dying during that time. Today's Inuvialuit descend from those who survived the devastating flu epidemic. We also face the same fear with Covid-19. These masks are a testament to our strength and resilience as Inuvialuit People. We are strong, intelligent, successful, modern people who still live according to traditional values and way of life passed on to us from our ancestors. As Indigenous people, our experiences tell us that we aren't really seen, heard, or valued by mainstream society. Yet we are still here despite years of colonization, systemic racism and injustice, genocide, diseases, starvation, residential schools, and ongoing ill treatment of our people. These masks are a sister set, inspired by the resilience, strength, and fortitude of Inuvialuit people and culture; these masks say "I'm here, I'm real, I have value, I exist." We are still here. Our experiences, our history, our future matters, we matter. Both masks feature traditional design elements of Inuvialuit clothing, such as walrus tusks. Walruses were an important resource for Inuvialuit life in the arctic, providing food, material for tools, rope, waterproof clothing and oil for lamps. Mask 1 is reminiscent of our traditional parka. It is made with seal skin, black leather, fabric, ptarmigan feathers, birchbark, sequins, beads and chainette fringe. This mask features white walrus tusks, enhanced with mini sequins. The geometric design in traditional black, white and red, were made of caribou hide and fur long ago. Ptarmigan feathers and birch bark are two simple things that hold strong memory for me and love for my culture. No matter how insignificant something might seem, everything had a purpose in Inuvialuit life and culture. Ptarmigan, a small arctic bird, provides food and its feathers are useful. Birch bark is found on the shores of the Arctic Ocean, washed up with drift wood, providing another necessity - fire starter, essential for life in the arctic.
Inuvialuit Fortitude

Photo credit: Nathalie Bertin

Christina King

Inuvialuit Fortitude

Seal skin, blue fox, ptarmigan feather, birch bark, leather, sequins, fabric, ribbon, bias tape, beads, elastic, chainette, reclaimed metal bag closures

12" x 8.25" x 2.5"

Collection of artist

Artist Statement My name is Taalrumiq/Christina King. I am an Inuvialuit woman originally from Tuktoyaktuk, Northwest Territories, Canada. Inuvialuit are the Inuit of the Canadian Western Arctic. My home community is in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region on the shores of the Beaufort Sea/Arctic Ocean. Currently, I am living in Prince George, BC the traditional territory of the Lheidli T'enneh. Although I am far from my ancestral homeland and community, my culture is what inspires my work. Inuvialuit Fortitude Covid-19 Masks These masks are my Inuvialuit response to Covid-19. Over half of our people were wiped out during the Spanish Flu epidemic approximately 100 years ago and we were on the brink of extinction. We had no natural immunity to diseases brought over by European Whalers and Fur Traders. My maternal grandparents were young children who helped fetch water for the sick and dying during that time. Today's Inuvialuit descend from those who survived the devastating flu epidemic. We also face the same fear with Covid-19. These masks are a testament to our strength and resilience as Inuvialuit People. We are strong, intelligent, successful, modern people who still live according to traditional values and way of life passed on to us from our ancestors. As Indigenous people, our experiences tell us that we aren't really seen, heard, or valued by mainstream society. Yet we are still here despite years of colonization, systemic racism and injustice, genocide, diseases, starvation, residential schools, and ongoing ill treatment of our people. These masks are a sister set, inspired by the resilience, strength, and fortitude of Inuvialuit people and culture; these masks say "I'm here, I'm real, I have value, I exist." We are still here. Our experiences, our history, our future matters, we matter. Both masks feature traditional design elements of Inuvialuit clothing, such as walrus tusks. Walruses were an important resource for Inuvialuit life in the arctic, providing food, material for tools, rope, waterproof clothing and oil for lamps. Mask 2 is made of white sealskin with red walrus tusks and a zigzag bead embellishment. This mask also has red sealskin and mini sequin fringe, beaded trim and natural blue fox fur accents. With braided silver ear pieces, red, white and black trim, this mask is a modern interpretation of Inuvialuit tradition. Individually each mask is beautiful, strong, and makes a statement. Together they are so much more. Like Inuvialuit, together they are stronger! Like all indigenous people, together they are stronger!
Newborn and Child

Photo credit: Nathalie Bertin

Kristi Bridgeman

Newborn and Child

Cotton, glass beads, sweetgrass

4.5"x3"x0.75"

Collection of artist

Artist Statement Newborn and Child mask acknowledges our children’s experience during this frightening time. Please note* This is an art installation piece only, not meant for a child to wear. As an artist who works from home, my day to day routine during the pandemic has not changed dramatically. Of course the news is inescapable and fear is certainly present. I don a mask, limit my grocery visits and have cancelled shows and engagements. But despite the seriousness of the pandemic, I am still able to create and spend my days in the same environment. For many children during the early part of the pandemic though, life has taken a surreal shift. Left behind are the daily customs of walking to school, the corner store, playing with friends, birthday parties, swimming lessons and travel to see family. A childs experience has been schoolwork at the kitchen table, yellow tape around the playgrounds, faces in masks and measuring distances between each other. Living close to my grandson as caregiver and teacher, I have lived this experience alongside him. While home is a safe haven from frightening things, there is no denying that there has been sacrifice and anxiety. We do this for our elders and those who can’t fight off the virus. Certainly the children of Covid will have lost an innocence. In the next few weeks our family await the arrival of a new baby. I had looked forward to attending this birth, as I have others in the family. During COVID, hospitals limit visitors per patient, so despite experience as birth coach and a strong desire to be there with my daughter, I will step aside so that the father can be there. I sympathize with how awful it must be for those millions of people who are unable to be with their loved ones. The fabric of this piece has been given an antique over dye to simulate a mask worn during the 1918 Spanish Influenza. The tiny newborn face mask, cupped in the mother’s hand- convey our contemporary experience with children during pandemic. The piece includes pastel medicine wheel colours and yellow mouse tracks, for the children.
Honouring Our Medicines

Photo credit: Nathalie Bertin

Naomi Smith

Honouring Our Medicines

Glass beads, cloth foundation, cotton velveteen, paper, red deer hide, brass sequins, nylon thread, cotton calico, metal beads

13.97cm x 13.462cm x 13.33cm

Collection of artist

Artist Statement Honouring Our Medicines • A Mask Project This project began as a reflection of things that are important to me. As a Woodlands Indigenous person one of my favourite things are Strawberries. Strawberries are the first fruit that nourishes us after the long winter. As a child some of my fondest memories revolve around walking in the meadows collecting up the tiny wild Strawberries that were abundant during the early weeks of summer. I recall always looking forward to picking farm fresh Strawberries. These were such happy days. The teachings I was gifted with tell how plants are our Medicines. They bring us nourishment and healing. Strawberries signal the end of winter into the season of abundance. Ancestors knew the Strawberries were important. I also wanted to honour the bees and I included tiny bees on each side of my mask. We cannot survive without our plants. Bees help the plants which in turn helps us. The enduring cycle of life is what I was thinking of while creating my piece. My mask was constructed during the Strawberry season, and moon. I wanted to honour this by adding Strawberries into my design along with a white bloom that is represents the Strawberry flower. The summer is such a beautiful time of the year. Many of us are missing some of summer due to Covid19. I have been inside our house for months. I like that I can preserve our Traditions from a contemporary perspective, I think our Ancestors would have made their own masks too if this was an important part of life. Thankfully I have my beading to keep me in a good mind. Beading is relaxing for me, it feeds my Spirit and acts as a canvas of expression, where I can tell my stories and share the traditions of my people. Our Indigenous art is meant to preserve and remind us of these important acts of life.
Corona Covid

Photo credit: Nathalie Bertin

Towanna Miller

Corona Covid

Pleather, felt, sunglass lenses, velveteen, beads, hat, buckles, jingle cone

Mask: 15" x 6" x 7" Hat: 13" x 6"

Collection of artist

Be Well 2020

Photo credit: Nathalie Bertin

Lisa Shepherd

Be Well 2020

Velveteen, glass beads, cotton fabric

25cm x 23cm x 8.5cm

Collection of artist

Artist Statement I worked through so many thoughts as I stitched this mask. It was like untangling thread. Frustrating at times, but necessary in order to move forward with creating. Like many other artists I've read about, I took a good two weeks of being entirely unproductive at the start of this pandemic hitting our part of the world. Then, one day, I realized how much I was grieving normalcy. Had it really been only two weeks prior that I was sitting with students at a high school, all talking about spring break plans? How fast that changed! With naming the grief, my inspiration and desire to create came back again. I also thought about our interconnectedness. To each other. To nature. Our family has been escaping to the forest when we can and making offerings to the water. It's a time of feeling very small but, with that, also a release of so much that we seem to carry every day. There is a strange comfort that also comes with loss of all sense of control. Okay, so here we are. Isolating, and at the same time realizing the deep need that we have for each other. For connection to each other and to all living beings. Has anyone else noticed the sheer joy that a car ride brings? After a month of isolating, I have a better understanding of the perspective of my dogs. In a car ride, as we pass through our city that seems to have slowed down to pace of the small prairie town from my childhood, the colours seem brighter, the sounds more crisp, the air is clean and - oh, that sky! How could we have taken such everyday miracles for granted for so long? There is so much for us to feel grateful for. And yet - never has a beadwork project felt so full of paradox, in a time of fear, uncertainty, and loss. We are heading into a long weekend. Our family will be staying home. We are going to take time to say our gratitudes. To Creator, to Mother Earth and to each other. Covid19 has happened so fast and many that have come down sick have gone to hospital alone and passed on to the next world. What was left unsaid? And so, I will try and keep open to all the vivid beauty of the world and try not to take even a single moment for granted. I will tell the people that are dear to me that I love them. I've been saying that a lot lately to every friend that I speak with on the phone or video chat, because I do. On this long weekend, I pray that others will embrace this opportunity to do the same. Stay home. Be well.
Pandemic Vogue

Photo credit: Nathalie Bertin

Nathalie Bertin

Pandemic Vogue

Hematite, glass beads, velveteen, ribbon, cotton fabric

12" x 8.25" x 2.5"

Collection of artist

Artist Statement Pandemic Vogue (2020), Nathalie Bertin For my second mask, I explored the concept of vanity which ultimately led me to reflect on privilege. This custom made mask is based on the tattoo designs on my arm. This mask is all about me, to protect me and others from me. The designs on my tattoos are based on traditional beadwork designs. In a sense, the designs have come full circle – from beadwork on a traditional garment, to my tattoos and back to beadwork on a contemporary article for me to wear. As I worked on the mask, I had heard or read someone asking what it would take to normalize wearing masks so that everyone would finally wear one. I also found it interesting that couturier Yves St Laurent was making masks for the front lines. I wondered if they put their logo on the masks. I also wondered when we might see Dolce & Gabana or Channel ads for masks or models wearing some masks on runways. I chose to create a mock ad for my mask as a way to try to answer the question of how these masks could become normalized. However the bigger question is whether it could ever be a normal thing to wear a mask on a day-to-day basis. And normalized for whom? There is often-violent history against women who chose to wear a Niqab, even here in friendly Canada. Many non-Muslim people of colour who might want to wear a mask may not do so for fear that they may be mistaken for a criminal. Therefore, is it really possible for us to normalize the wearing of masks or is it only for a certain group of people?
Quillpocalypse Now

Photo credit: Nathalie Bertin

Graham Paradis

Quillpocalypse Now

Procupine quills, moose hide, velveteen, cloth, aluminum screen, rawhide, sinew, 24 kt gold spikes, silk ribbon, braided yarn, cedar

20cm x 16cm x 5.5cm

Collection of artist

Hero

Photo credit: Nathalie Bertin

Louise Vien

Hero

Red silk ribbon, black cashmere, beads, dentilium shells, metal cones, cotton fabric

5.5" x 8.25" x 0.25"

Collection of artist

Artist Statement " HERO " This mask was done to honor my sister who is a front line worker at the General Hospital as an RN in the ER. I used 15 and 16 size beads to remind us that the success in the ER is in the details. I used small jingles on the side to remember the healing story of the jingle dress and how as a nurse her purpose is to help in the healing process. Their is a total of 7 jingles per side to honor the 7 teachings that my sister embodies everyday as she works in the ER. I added denthilium shells which are spaced to represents the space that we must share between us to maintain health.. The flower was to be a rose but realised it looks more like a poppy which I find ironic. Because as an RN she goes to the front line to battle an invisible enemy which in my books makes her a veteran to her trade and a hero in my book. at the bottom on the mask you will find 3 glass tears. First tear is one of exhaustion and sweat. The second tear is the tear of loss and despair while the third tear is one of happiness and hope. I greatly admirer my sister for her ethics and care she puts in her work. Not only is she concerned for her patients but is also for her co-workers. All the while working at the hospital she works at home doing masks for the staff she works with. She has sewn over 150 mask just so everyone is safe and don’t run out. To you I salut Sis...Plus I wish you a Happy Birthday in advance knowing we wont be able to get together but just wanted to say your my hero. And that from time to time you should stop and smell the roses.
All That We Need

Photo credit: Nathalie Bertin

Nathalie Bertin

All That We Need

Beads, birch bark, leather, cotton twine

12" x 8.25" x 2.5"

Collection of artist

Artist Statement At the beginning of May 2020, I spent some time away in the bush for the seasonal, traditional spring food gathering. As a sustenance hunter and forager, this is an important part of my physical and spiritual life. Some of the most profound lessons I have ever learned have occurred while sitting in wait at the base of a tree while watching the life all around me. The connections that provide meaning are palpable and enduring. I hold those connections even when I am away from those natural areas. On a particular walk, a birch tree showed me its shedding skin. Having been so inspired by traditional basket makers, birch bark biting art and, more recently, some artists in “Breathe” and never having worked with birch except for making the odd pair of earrings, I thought it would be an interesting exploration to see what could be done with birch. I accepted the tree’s gift and brought it back to camp not knowing exactly what I would do. I often look to nature to signal different things. Birch was already telling me that it contained the potential to make something useful out of it (or not – depending on how well I could hone my existing skills). Of course, birch has been used in a multitude of ways by our various communities. At the very least, it would help me build a fire! That very thought reminded me of the story about how Nanabush went to get fire from Thunderbird. After stealing the fire, he changed into rabbit and ran as Thunderbird threw bolts of fire at him while chasing him. Birch offered Nanabush protection but suffered burn scratches from the bolts that can be seen today as dark scars on these trees. This story was also a reminder me of how communities share the transfer of knowledge orally. This is how children learn that Birch is a safe tree to seek shelter from in a storm. A few days later, another sentinel came to mind. The Moccasin Flower (aka Pink Lady Slipper Orchid) grows in our area for a brief time in spring. The delicate flower requires a special balance in the earth to grow. (I’ve tried to transplant it but have been unsuccessful.) As a traditional food gatherer, I know that when this flower appears, it is the right time for certain hunting activities. The Moccasin Flower also reminded me of another story. Briefly, this story is about how a community had fallen ill during a harsh winter but had no medicines left to treat the people. The illness had become so bad that even the Chief and the Messengers were ill. One of the last members still well enough to make the harsh trek to another village to obtain medicines was a young woman whose husband had also fallen ill. Determined and brave, she set off in the winter cold. As time went by, the woman’s community began to worry that she had not come back yet. A search party of the few remaining healthy went out to look for her. When they found her frozen body, she was clutching a birch basket filled with medicines. They also saw her tracks in the snow were stained with blood from her bare feet. She had sacrificed her life so that others could live. When spring came, the Moccasin flowers started to grow where her feet had stained the snow. The story of the Moccasin Flower now has a new significance for me in these days of Covid-19. This is the moment when I decided I would make a mask with the birch bark. I hadn’t planned on making a third mask. (Side note: Turns out I was actually still mourning the vandalized destruction of an outdoor public art installation I had made merely a year ago... The idea of putting my soul into another art object for potential public viewing took quite a few days to talk myself into.) With the very little experience I have with birch bark, I knew that it would be quite delicate to work with. I had to be patient. I had to be in a positive mindset. I had to be focussed. The slightest tug of thread in the wrong direction would certainly cause my work to fall apart. As long as I remained vigilant in how I treated this special material, it gave itself to me. I was amazed at just how much sticking of the needle it could actually take!
Wild Roses

Photo credit: Nathalie Bertin

Amanda Roy

Wild Roses

Birch Bark, sweetgrass, pine sap, sinew, bear fat, deer hide, spruce root

15cm x 14cm x 10cm

Collection of artist

Artist Statement Boozhoo, my name is Amanda Roy and I am Anishinaabek, bear clan from Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory on Manitoulin Island where I was born and raised. I am currently living and working in Montreal, Quebec, on Mohawk territory. I’d never made a mask before let alone done birch bark etching. Last Winter I participated in building two birch bark canoes so I had some knowledge of working with birch bark, spruce roots, and pine sap. I had asked the elder who was teaching us to build the canoes how to do etching and he took a scrap of bark, sprayed it with water, then scratched it with his pocket knife and said there you go. The mask featuring a wild rose was my first attempt at birch bark etching and mask making. I had seen people making their own masks with beadwork and was struck by how the shape of them from the side looked very similar to the bow of a canoe. I started thinking how it would be cool if someone made one out of birch bark then the more I thought of it, the more I thought well, why not give it a shot. The problem being, living in downtown Montreal during a pandemic that had shut the city down, and not knowing where to find materials. I started thinking of places close by, parks, trails, and other green spaces where I had seen trees and what variety I had seen. I set out to the park by my place and the walking trail close by and little by little I found what I needed. All materials for these masks with the exception of the deer hide ties have been found and foraged from downtown Montreal. Each mask is made with birch bark, cedar wood to support the nose bridge from neighbourhood hedges, sap and roots from the walking trail by my apartment, deer hide from my mother, and sweetgrass for the edging. Roots were used to sew the two parts together with a sap/bear fat mix to seal the seams and further support the shape of the masks. I chose to use a wild rose for the first mask because all along the walking trails by my apartment there are wild roses growing wherever the city left spaces between their manicured flower gardens. It’s an interesting contrast to these manufactured spaces to have wild roses growing wherever they please, how they please, despite attempts to control and groom these uniform spaces.
Reslient Flowers

Photo credit: Nathalie Bertin

Tania Clute Jacobs

Reslient Flowers

Pellon, beads, ribbon

7" x 6" x5.5"

Collection of artist

Artist Statement My cousin saw the open call for beadwork for Breathe back in the beginning of April. I was working on looming several replica wampum belts and started thinking about some concepts. I drew up my initial design, and it took me a while before I actually started the project. I kept putting it off and wasn’t sure I was going to make the mask. I knew I wanted to create something that would reflect me as an artist. That I wanted it to be a fully beaded face mask, because I love to bead. It’s a passion. But I couldn’t get into this particular project. Then we found out that my husband’s family who live in another community had COVID-19. Thinking about them and my own family here, I just started to work on the mask. A lot of emotions went into the creation of this mask. It was a challenge to make and I almost gave up a few times, because it wasn’t coming out quite right. Finally, I knew exactly what I wanted and I went into a happy place with focus. In total it took me about two-weeks to complete. After I was done, my husband helped me to pick my fingers up off the floor. I made a structured mask out of Pellon and card stock to bead with vinyl backing, representing how precious the N95 masks have become during the pandemic. Running along the bottom of the mask are strawberry plants, which is a good medicine in our culture stemming from our creation story. There are three flowers on the mask representing my children and hope that our medicines will keep them protected, just as a mask helps to protect the healthcare workers on the front line.
Cease & Desist: the Bearded Lady Mask

Photo credit: Nathalie Bertin

Teresa Burrows

Cease & Desist: the Bearded Lady Mask

Glass beads, silk, leather, tanned beaver tails, beaver teeth, zippers

71" x 50" x 10"

Collection of artist

Artist Statement Following my mom’s death on Remembrance Day 2019, I did not bead for three months and found myself in a media explosion of pipeline protests, followed by a shutdown due to covid19 and a world questioning systemic racism. Over the past couple months I returned to beadwork but with plans to create masks and mixed media lungs. I create multiple works simultaneously so I have a badger mask, caribou and raven lungs works in progress. But these are story and portrait masks. Over the years Sandra Alfoldy , professor, art historian and curator (who included my beaded works in the Cheongju Biennale, Vancouver Olympics and tours of Scotland and Canada ) succumbed to cancer, also in 2019. The Scottish play (Macbeth) introduces us to three women (witches) with beards who are said to know when something wicked this way comes!!! How much pricking is known to beaders! I had been working on templates for the tree of knowledge and tree of life. Something was chewing at the roots. Pandemics are cease and desists? In history and still where superstition overwhelms, witches are blamed for pandemics. In history the bearded ones were accused of witchcraft when we wanted to “unsex” power, of traditional medicinal knowledge and take away land based healing to then masculine worlds of medicine and science. Those who were eccentric or outspoken were often labelled witches. Nowadays corporations have alternative means to silence whistleblowers and wisdom keepers. In the English language a beaver is an obsolete term for a full beard. It also has slang associations to women. Canada was born of a beaver. Corporate greed and fashion had already made the beaver extinct in Europe and nearly did again following the HBC exploitation of the animal here in North America. 350 years to protest beaver lives matter and land back. I literally live adjacent to beaver lodges. But we don’t listen to the creatures anymore- those sacred languages lost. Sandra Alfoldy has written books and done lectures about Canadian Craft. She has a humorous ironic take on artisans as “bearded”. She had been questioning the corporate appropriation of words like “artisan” and “craft” to sell mass produced products. She had lamented that in 2016 Maple Leaf Foods had trademarked the words “Canadian Craft TM” for their apple whiskey flavoured bacon, as if all the textile, wood, metal, glass and other media makers across Canada did not produce “real” Canadian Craft! For a chapter in her book she inquired and was slapped with a “cease and desist” to discuss, lecture, reference etc. their use of this apple whiskey trademark. I had discussed making Beaded apple whiskey beavers for a exhibition that subsequently was cancelled following her illness/death. I had told her I was creating works around the true Canadian artisan- the beaver. Artists who truly produce Canadian Craft leave their DNA in their works. These are the Dam Nation Artists who do not observe the cease and desist terrorism of corporations. They are the “land back” originators. I have been working on a full beaded DNA genome for beaver teeth as part of my embroidered confessions and other collaborations series funded by Manitoba Arts Council and Canada Council for the Arts. Part of the series expands into another work cease and desist: the sin eater, a fully beaded beaver fur cape about northern Manitoban beavers taken in 1946 to Argentina (and are now invasive species)-Adored but now damned too! Years ago the Suffragettes used stitching as part of the Victorian underground to promote health and human rights. I have reclaimed damaged pieces of antique Needlecraft. -Neatly stitched in a orderly pattern - sometimes the revolution needs us to take things apart before we recreate new beginnings. In burial histories we would deflesh and sit with the bones- we would bury and dig up the bones a year later before a final ceremony to honour the spirits and release our memories. A new set of clothes took us away from mourning attire. There will be a time when we no longer need the mask but will we have learned from those spirits and bones how to live new lives. Do we honour those we mourn with new science, new medicines, new relationships with others and our world? Sometimes we can remake the world if we listen to the whispers. Maybe a mask is meant to tell us to shut up and listen to the needs of our world, our climate, our peoples, our creatures (flora and fauna) I cut up antique beadwork to create with new additions, a bearded lady mask. (BLM) Hidden under a N95 mask is Sandra’s smile, that while no longer seen, is well remembered by those who shared her time. I believe in giving the mask some art with teeth so the work will feature beaver tail leather, beaver teeth, zippers, and as I have time I hope I can add a DNA dam nation artists manifesto based on Sandra’s lectures and what language I can create with zipper teeth. This may be added behind or as part of the PPE gloves with more beaded sections, beaver tail leather, fur etc. Through this pandemic it has been the makers that have helped others survive changes as they happened. Artists have gifted their talents and continue to leave a legacy that is our true Canadian Craft.
Every Bead a Breath

Photo credit: Nathalie Bertin

Adele Arseneau

Every Bead a Breath

Moose hide, buffalo hide, horse hair, vintage abalone buttons, vintage charlotte beads, glass miyuki beads, ocean jasper, cotton

13.5" x 7" x 1"

Collection of artist

Artist Statement Every Bead a Breath Handmade Mask by Adele maskwasowiskwew Arseneau As an indigenous woman, I’ve largely passed through this existence feeling like I have no voice. Most of my art has been focused on creating around the endangered stories of others, to put them up on the proverbial soapbox, making them personable and real. It never occurred to me to tell my own story, with its roots so intertwined with this land now called Canada. All of my portrait carvings reflect this journey, with most of them only having the suggestion of a mouth. My hands do the speaking as they create the pieces I make. Using everything I am given, like my kohkoms before me. Appreciating the materials, and the memories they bring. Each piece is like a reflection, capturing a moment in my life. Beading my anxiety away, each bead a breath. Each stitch sewing me back into my culture, bringing with it remembering, intertwining me with my roots, making me stronger and more whole. Several elements come from family stories, the arrow sash - to remember how my family stood alongside One Arrow and his Nation before the territories became Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Buffalo hide to remember the bull taken at Pink Mountain where my father was Captain of the Hunt. Abalone buttons passed down through the family from mother to daughter, traded from the coast to the prairies, and now returned. Horsehair and flower beadwork to honor my nehiyaw mother and my Métis father. Ocean Jasper and the blue palette - as air and water walk hand in hand and we cannot live without either. Everything has a place in this world, like beads - we do best when we are put where we can shine. It’s all part of a larger picture, this is how something small can impact something larger than ourselves. We all need to tell our stories because someone out there needs to hear them. Adele maskwasowiskwew Arseneau, is an emerging nehiyaw (Cree) - Métis visual artist. Creating traditional and contemporary beadwork, along with carving red and yellow cedar - she tells stories to engage audiences around social and environmental issues. This is her language and these are her stories.
Generations - My Story

Photo credit: Nathalie Bertin

Marlene Kelly

Generations - My Story

Tanned deer hide, cotton fabric, silk-elastic paracord, rabbit fur, beads

99cm x 16.5cm x 16.6cm

Collection of artist

Artists Statement GENERATIONS - MY STORY Tansi, I am 4th generation Cree-Metis beadwork artist. My ancestral home is Ft. Chipewyan & Ft. MacMurray AB. I am privileged to live in the unceded territory of the K’omoks First Nation. As I sat drawing the design for my pandemic mask, I took comfort in the ease the pattern formed from my mind’s eye to paper. The flowers, the curves of the vines, the shapes of the leaves, every colour I saw transformed with a familiarity of generational knowledge. These are the patterns that my nikâwiy, nokôm and okômâw used and were now passed down to me. As I started beading, thoughts of convenience, even during this pandemic, floated through my mind. Thoughts of the struggles and hardships of the strong women who came before me. Women who persevered and survived with a lot less than I am blessed with today. Thoughts of the Dr’s orders to keep my 87 year old mom safe inside because she won’t survive this Coronavirus. I will protect her fiercely, lovingly, diligently, patiently until her last breath. One day I will be the matriarch in my family... but not today. Beading this mask connected me to these strong women. It awakened my soul memory, reminding me that I have the gifts, knowledge and resilience to overcome just as they did but with a lot more conveniences and resources. Mask: tanned deer hide, cotton bandana Ties: silk & elastic paracord, rabbit fur pom poms Beadwork: s11 silver-lined / frosted /metallic / opaque / neon czech glass seed beads, s15 charlottes, s6 glass transparent beads, 11mm multi coloured crystal teardrop beads Thread: size D white Nymo, 8lb smoke fireline, 6lb crystal fireline
Blueberries

Photo credit: Nathalie Bertin

Nathalie Bertin

Blueberries

Moose hide, beads, melton wool, cotton fabric, rabbit fur, leather

Collection of artist

Artist Statement “Blueberries”, Nathalie Bertin Here is my first pandemic mask. It’s a concept piece that was inspired by a telephone conversation I had with my mother a week or so ago (late March 2020). She had already been self-isolating alone in her condo for a couple of weeks with only the rare trip out for necessities and some drop offs from my brother. During the conversation, I realized her anxiety levels had increased thanks to too much TV and the snowbirds that were returning from the south, going about their daily lives as if everything was normal. She was so worried about going out even to check the mail box but didn’t have any masks. She went through her recycling, found an empty, plastic blueberry container from the grocery store and cut the lid off. She stuffed tissues in the lid, got some elastic and fashioned herself a mask. Then, with rubber gloves and a couple of q-tips to push the elevator buttons, off she went to check the mail. (I’ve since mailed her some masks.) When she first told me about her make-do solution, I laughed! You have to know my mother. If nothing else, she’s always been resourceful. This was genuinely funny. On the other hand, she’s also very mistrustful thanks to a lifetime of experiences. Just as I wondered at the level of insecurity and paranoia that a person could reach, she recalled how her grandmother – my great grandmother -- had died of “consumption” (aka tuberculosis) at a fairly young age. It caused us to pause for a moment because that wasn’t really that long ago. And then we were hit with the realization that we knew nothing about our common matriarch. We don’t even know where she was buried except she went into a mass grave somewhere in North Bay, ON. Other than a census record showing she lived on Nipissing with my great grandfather, there is no other documentation of her except a general death notice. Without these two records, and some relatives’ memories, she almost would never have existed. I have to wonder how many other people are feeling this same sense of loss…? ABOUT THE MASK: I chose blueberries atop a blueberry flower surrounded with silver beads to represent the container my mother used. Blueberries are also great anti-oxidants. She had noted that after a while it was hard to breathe through that hard plastic with all the tissue and could feel condensation build up by the time she was back in her own space. This is represented by the blue and clear beads. I used moose hide to represent our matriarchal clan. I used fur as edging to symbolize further filtration of air that could get in through the sides. This isn’t what I would have done from a design perspective but my mom definitely would have for the perceived practicality. There are also tiny beads on the moose hide symbolizing the free born particles that float around us all the time. Unless you look carefully, you can’t see the “one” that might just infect you. On the inside, there is a pocket for cedar. Another good medicine used for the prevention of chest infection and irritation.
The Journey

Photo credit: Nathalie Bertin

Dianne Brown-Green

The Journey

Handmade milkweed paper, acrylic paint, beads

14.5" x 17" x 5"

Collection of artist

Artist Statement My mask is made of hand painted monarchs on handmade/ pressed milkweed pulp paper, the one and only plant monarchs need to survive. Included in the paper is forgetmeknotts flowers to represent those we have lost to the virus so they are not forgotten . Blue beads on the outer edges the sky and waters of which the Monarch flys through and over as they journey across the globe. Green beads are milkweed and creamy White are eggs. They represent strength and endurance traveling thousands of miles during their annual migration every year to only reproduce a generation to return home in time to celebrate souls and spirits of the dead. Their metamorphoses from egg, caterpillar and chrysalis to once again emerge into a beautiful butterfly. They face many challenges during their journey, weather conditions, pesticides, insects that eat their only food source to survive and predators. They remind of the current situation in the world, the challenges and changes we are all making. Other insects that eat the one plant they need to survive is parallel to the early stages of hoarding necessities instead of only taking what we need and thinking of others. Their final stage of emerging into a butterfly which is like looking after our Elders for future generations we can learn so much from them to be kind to one another as we all share one planet. I have met many friends from around the world as we have followed their journey. I feel we are on a journey much like theirs one filled with uncertainty, changes and challenges that join us all together. We need to be like them kind and gentle to each other.
Wahkohtowin

Photo credit: Nathalie Bertin

Lisa Shepherd

Wahkohtowin

Velveteen, beads, ribbon, cotton fabric, tin jingles, hand-tied yarn tassels

24cm x 15cm x 8cm

Collection of artist

Artist Statement I worked through so many thoughts as I stitched this mask. It was like untangling thread. Frustrating at times, but necessary in order to move forward with creating. Like many other artists I've read about, I took a good two weeks of being entirely unproductive at the start of this pandemic hitting our part of the world. Then, one day, I realized how much I was grieving normalcy. Had it really been only two weeks prior that I was sitting with students at a high school, all talking about spring break plans? How fast that changed! With naming the grief, my inspiration and desire to create came back again. I also thought about our interconnectedness. To each other. To nature. Our family has been escaping to the forest when we can and making offerings to the water. It's a time of feeling very small but, with that, also a release of so much that we seem to carry every day. There is a strange comfort that also comes with loss of all sense of control. Okay, so here we are. Isolating, and at the same time realizing the deep need that we have for each other. For connection to each other and to all living beings. Has anyone else noticed the sheer joy that a car ride brings? After a month of isolating, I have a better understanding of the perspective of my dogs. In a car ride, as we pass through our city that seems to have slowed down to pace of the small prairie town from my childhood, the colours seem brighter, the sounds more crisp, the air is clean and - oh, that sky! How could we have taken such everyday miracles for granted for so long? There is so much for us to feel grateful for. And yet - never has a beadwork project felt so full of paradox, in a time of fear, uncertainty, and loss. We are heading into a long weekend. Our family will be staying home. We are going to take time to say our gratitudes. To Creator, to Mother Earth and to each other. Covid19 has happened so fast and many that have come down sick have gone to hospital alone and passed on to the next world. What was left unsaid? And so, I will try and keep open to all the vivid beauty of the world and try not to take even a single moment for granted. I will tell the people that are dear to me that I love them. I've been saying that a lot lately to every friend that I speak with on the phone or video chat, because I do. On this long weekend, I pray that others will embrace this opportunity to do the same. Stay home. Be well.
Resilience

Photo credit: Nathalie Bertin

Candace Longjohn-Constant

Resilience

Commercial buckskin, beads, elastic cord, cotton fabric, interfacing

24cm x 16.5cm x 4cm

Collection of artist

Artist Statement Working on masks has been keeping my busy during these covid times, making masks has settled my mind. I’m a mom of 6, most of my children have grown, my youngest child just turned 12 and my eldest 26. So really can’t call them children, but I do. We’ve always been a single income Family of 8. Three of our boys (20, 15 and 13) all are on the spectrum of autism. Everyday there is a milestone to be celebrated from the simplest of tasks to the millionth time we’ve heard “Pixar No DreamWorks” types of repeated lines. It’s comforting having a routine with them, it’s been a breeze staying home with them because we already are self isolated. They don’t mind but I do, so I occupy my home time on the best of times with so many hobbies, and I encourage the boys to keep on trying new things through my hobbies, I’ve done custom cakes, beading, sewing, rabbit sharing to name a few, but covid offered a new way for me to help them connect with the world. through social distancing via masks. My second eldest daughter and our family made cloth to 200 masks for the Saskatoon Lighthouse, that was great team work! Then this opportunity came along and I actually made maybe 11 different masks. I wanted to encapsulate the work of connecting with the culture via iron on images my drawings with fabric paint and appliqué mixed with beadwork, there was something about those pieces that just didn’t fit. Then I thought heck, I’m here in my house and I see my late capan (great grandmothers photo) I took home from my high school classroom because on that day we were all told to go home I couldn’t bare to leave her photo, her awesomeness in that empty building, so I took her home and have her in my makeshift private office (the back mud room) where me and my sons built t-shelves for all my work items. Anyway I was sitting there safe in my home and knowing I have these skills attained as a child by my capan and I hadn’t used them, I began doodling a flower.., my go to is usually a prairie lily because my youngest is named Prairie, but my doodle was a bit more, I thought of all the colours I wanted to portray and why I used them. - blue for autism awareness, and for the #differentnotless, so much of my mask design includes compliments of my sons, who by routine will say “mom I see you are working so hard” or “good job!“ and usually only interrupt me if they want permission to have Pepsi or to show me how cute our 8 year old cat is for the billionth time and blue also because it represents water, water cleanses is, it is purity, it’s what we need to use to wash our hands with and to drink often to fight this virus Red- I chose red because to me it represents the resilience of women, of the grand mothers, mothers, daughters Who have helped shape us, teach us our ways and remind us of our gentleness when we are front line workers in our own homes and usually extend our helping hands further then our curbs Yellow was chosen because the sun rises in the east. It’s a reminder that tomorrow isn’t promised but the gift the day brings we should make good use of it for Everyone and be thankful for another day go teach and care for others Green is for our earth, to show us that we must treat the earth respectfully and to reconnect as much as possible; Pink because I like colours, and just had to use those beads haha. And lastly white, it is a reminder that we have an almighty Creator, the colour reminds us to pray, just pray in thanks and hope for our families Anyways that’s why I chose those colours and I appreciated the time my children watched my work, the leathers used are commercial hide and worn buckskin type hide. The mask is usable; it has two layers of interfacing with a floral Cotton backing with a functional pocket where you can add a paper towel. Usually I put a nose wire but this one didn’t need it. It has a beaded edge that matches my three daughters’ leggings they had as children. Another reason I designed it the way I did was, I wanted to fashion as a crown, I like wearing my masks on my head when I can, and this one sort of looks like a crown a princess would earn at a POW wow, kind of cool ... A lot of love and care of my family supporting me make it went into this mask and I love them for it, kinâskomitin hiy hiy thank you for reading
Standing in Line

Photo credit: Nathalie Bertin

France Poliquin

Standing in Line

Commercial deer hide, beads

25.5cm x 16cm x 12cm

Collection of artist

Artist Statement Standing in Line Third world war is declared and we are all at war against a Virus. It’s a Pandemic, which is what, what does that mean really. I start knitting to past the time, I read books, but this is not feeding my soul. I am watching the news, not understanding what is this all about. The first time I am expose to something similar is when I am in my early 20s and I teach in Constant Lake treaty no 9. Hepatitis C is among the children and the adults are scared. At the time the Federal Government runs the school and we are lucky since they send a group of two nurses that check each child. We are asked to get the vaccine for Hepatitis C I refuse I just don’t believe in it. I was learning bead working then and I remember that this practice had filled my soul while I did get sick with rheumatism fever, which is in the same family as Hepatitis C; I did beading to get my soul filled with colours and create different small beading projects. Now I am 67 years old all these memories come back to me and I am asking myself how did I deal with the situation almost 50 years ago. I start observing the people around me what is going on, the halls are empty we are not allowed to go to our common activity room, the door is wrap with a yellow ribbon boned with danger. At the beginning you are sort of paranoid about meeting someone in the hallway, especially a stranger. The only strangers coming in our 60 and up social housing are Home Care workers visiting three out of 31 persons twice or three times a day. I am watching these strangers with a critical eye what if, what if, what if? Why are they always different? After two weeks I am out of fresh produces, ok, now how are we suppose to get those if we are not suppose to go out? Ok I hear on the news that if we must go out shopping to do so early in the morning. To my surprise when I get to the grocery store there is a line up of white hair mostly women. We all have a worried face, some have a mask and some do not, but we are all in line waiting being patient. This makes me nervous because we do not know what this virus is all about. Are we lining up to get the virus, are we lining up to die? Is the virus here, right here creping up my pants or my sleeves where is it? In my hair, on my hands or on my shoes I pray to Mother Earth to help me cope with this enemy, this invisible enemy. April 07 Paula 85 years old passes away Covid 19. April 10 Judith 77 years old passes away Covid 19 April 15 Monique 79 catches Covid 19 is very sick I have to do something with my hands to keep them busy so I do not get scared and panic. Tout va bien allé, it will be fine. Beading, yes I have to start a project. I made some cloth masks for my brother and his partner and I sold a few at the residence where I live, but I must be part of something to help me cope with this Pandemic. I discover BREATH on CBC Indigenous but it is a close group and quite difficult to find. There is so much happening about breathing; I have asthma, this black man dyes because he cannot breathe. Wearing the mask keep me from breathing properly, I will survive this craziness. The Mask: I decided to make a mask that tells a story of three women of different nationality who wait in line since everywhere they go there is a line up. This is quite sad to see all these older people waiting in line for their meals, to take their weight and for their medication and to finally to pass. The colours I have use for the beading project is very symbolic to me. Pink that represents friendship, affection, harmony, inner peace, and approachability. My ladies are surrounded by the colour green, which symbolizes growth, harmony, freshness, and fertility. And to finished we have the colour blue that symbolizes trust, loyalty, wisdom, confidence, intelligence, faith, truth, and heaven.
My girl

Photo credit: Nathalie Bertin

Brenda Davidson

My girl

Melton wool, beads, embroidery thread, birch bark, moose hide, cotton fabric

26.5cm x 18cm x 0.5cm

Collection of artist

Artist Statement I made this mask for my daughter. I chose the wild rose for it embodies strength, resilience and healing. They were my mother's favourite flower, as well as mine and now my daughters too. The rose petals and rose hips are very medicinal and I harvest the rose hips every year. Julia and I bonded over many cups of rose hip tea in her Great Gramma’s tea cups while we stayed safe at home. I wanted to make a mask that would symbolize hope and healing…physically, emotionally and mentally. As I was making the mask I thought a lot about how fortunate we were that our family had been able to remain healthy and safe and felt deeply for all those who were not so fortunate, who had lost loved ones, been separated from their families, and those who had died alone. I learned to bead just over two years ago when I was fortunate to meet a wonderful artist named Cynthia Boehm who is so open to sharing her knowledge and ensuring this beautiful art form is not lost to future generations. I have been so blessed to reclaim this piece of my culture that was lost over the generations and so happy that I can pass it on to my daughter. I would also like to acknowledge Cree Artist Pat Bruderer (Halfmoon Woman), Carrier of the traditional art of Birch Bark Biting, who so generously shared her knowledge with me and taught me about Birch Bark Biting. While I did not learn the art of silk embroidery my Mother and Grandmother were so talented at, they were with me as I made this mask. My Grandmother left my Mother (her Daughter in Law) her sewing basket when she passed away and when my Mother passed, my Dad gave it to me. It contained my Grandmother's embroidery needle and I used it to finish my mask with the blanket stitch.
My okomaw

Photo credit: Nathalie Bertin

Marlene Kelly

My okomaw

Cotton, faux suede, embroidery, deer tan leather, ermine tails, deer antler, beads, dentalium

124cm x 18cm x 16cm

Collection of artist

Artist Statement Tansi, I am 4th generation Cree-Metis beadwork artist. My ancestral home is Ft. Chipewyan & Ft. MacMurray AB. I am privileged to live in the unceded territory of the K’omoks First Nation. My okômâw talks to me in my dreams. She speaks of medicines, life lessons, cultural ways, ceremony and gives advice when I pray for guidance. I was only in my 20’s when my okômâw first visited me in a dream. We sat beading in front of her tipi on a warm summer evening, the golden prairie grasses blowing in a light breeze. She spoke in Cree. At that time in my life I did not understand our language. For my benefit, her words were translated through subtitles in English. A feeling of enlightenment and pure love brightened in me as I woke from what would be the first of many dreams to come. During the isolation of this pandemic, I had many quiet hours to sit and reflect on my life; my family, my achievements, my failures…. All the good things I have in my life. My mask was created through guidance from my okômâw. “Tell your story”, she said, “You are enough. Show all you are thankful for, all you have been through and have overcome”. This is my story….. The fabric for my mask was pieces of fabric I had left over from my drum bag. I drum and sing with my sacred sisters. My love for them is unconditional and I am very humbled and proud to have each one in my life. The cotton lining inside is patterned with a Metis sash design. The ribbons not only symbolize the colours given to me after my naming ceremony but also the ribbons used on the colourful skirts and shirt that are prominent in our rich Metis heritage. The fire in the middle the first spark and fire that lives within every one of us. The sun and the moon remind me that there is always something to be thankful for at the end of the day and what a blessing it is to wake with the each new dawn. The two blonde women sitting in regalia facing each other represent the young woman I was and the kokum I am today. They symbolize my earth journey through the colonial world and the aboriginal community. A Cree Metis woman with Irish ancestry searching for acceptance on a path of oppression from both worlds. There was a dark time in my life where my life light was almost extinguished voluntarily. The white swan-wing fan was gifted to me the same night my life would have been forfeited. I am humbled and blessed Creator had other plans for me and trusted me with swan medicine. The smudge bowl holds the sage and sweetgrass I use for smudging and thanking Creator for my life. My daughters are represented by the fox and the rabbit. My first born daughter, the fox, brought me the medicine of awareness. I was enlightened to the joys and tears of motherhood. I began to understand what my own mom meant when she said, “you won’t understand until you have children of your own.” She also taught me about being the protector of my family. There still isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for my girls. My youngest daughter, the rabbit, taught me to turn my fearful attitude into courage as she fought and beat cancer in her teenage years. I learned not to let myself be overcome by fear over the things that were beyond my control. Cree originated from the stars; we are the Star People.The Seven Sisters star constellation acknowledges my Cree ancestry. All my relatives and ancestors watch and guide me from there. I am here to learn, lowered down on grandmother spider’s web. I will return to the Seven Sisters to sit among my relatives again. The green star in the constellation is in remembrance of my dad. He crossed over in 2018. The green represents our proud Irish ancestry on his side. The hummingbird is my mom. She taught me from a young age how to care for others and how to care for myself. She taught me that sometimes life can stop you dead in your track but you can still make the most of your circumstances by taking a step back, going forward, getting fired up or calming down. Lastly, the bottom of the mask has many semi precious stones sewn on. These represent the good red road I try to walk as humbly and softly as I can. I have always said to myself, You are going to be an ancestor someday, what will be your contribution?” This is mine.
An Appeal to Mishibijiw

Photo credit: Nathalie Bertin

Terre Chartrand

An Appeal to Mishibijiw

Copper

24cm x 15cm x 8cm

Collection of artist

Artist Statement Copper has long been known by the Anishinaabe as an antimicrobial metal. In just a couple hours, it kills all virus including COVID-19. This mask started as a tribute to this ancestral knowledge. It's ornamental, it doesn't seal so it isn't a practical mask but saw it's creation to honour copper and all of its sacred and healing properties. As it was being shaped and wrought from the metal the form became unmistakably similar to panther or lynx like face. My lack of access to tools forced the devising of its form through process. The copper was annealed on my charcoal grill and pounded with an average ball peen hammer. Because I didn't possess the necessary tools to solder copper, and access scant and difficult due to shut downs, I punched holes to attach the wrap around wires that hold the mask to my face. The panther like appearance completely emerged and I saw what I recognised as Mishibijiw, the underwater panther. Mishibijiw is a great spirit of the Anishinaabe of Great Lakes, bringer of death and destruction, guardian of copper but also bringer of great medicine. Mishibijiw can live in any waterway: the large lakes, especially Huron and Superior where there are troves of copper, but also in small lakes and rivers. Offerings are given for safe passage and the removal of copper. But as a cat like being, Mishibijiw makes his own decisions of who lives and who dies through his own capricious interventions. So I finished the mask with horns woven with wire and whiskers of the same material. It's called An Appeal to Mishibijiw and it's an appeal for safe passage through these times and a show of gratitude for the material used, copper.
Delta Rose

Photo credit: Nathalie Bertin

Eliza Firth

Delta Rose

Deer hide, silk, moose hair, beads, porcupine quills, silver infinity symbol, cotton lining

43.5cm x 18cm x 8cm

Collection of artist

Flying Geese and Morning Star

Photo credit: Nathalie Bertin

Beverly McNabb

Flying Geese and Morning Star

Fabric, ribbon, thread

29cm x 15cm x 1cm

Collection of artist

Artist Statement Quilting is a traditional art form in my family history. Both grandmothers were settler Canadians who were skilled in sewing techniques and produced beautiful quilts as part of their creative repertoire. Mom’s mom embroidered beautifully, and Dad’s mom, my Oma, cross-stitched many quilt tops for her own home use and as lovingly made gifts. Oma, who after emigrating to Canada and learning to sew as an adult, became a professional seamstress, and from her I learned both the art of pressing and sewing. I chose to use vintage materials that would be traditional for a baby quilt, both in colour and scale. This mask is made from a quilt square originally created for a baby quilt, to lovingly swaddle a newborn. The square has been repurposed now to offer loving protection from the virus that has been ravaging the world. The flying geese design represents the Canada Goose, a creature we’ve encountered daily this spring whose babies we have enjoyed watching grow. The star design recalls the moving Morning Star quilt in the recent Call to Action #83:Round Two art exhibit. The satin ribbon which would secure the mask recalls the satin edging on blankets that have tucked children into bed for generations. The reverse side includes a pocket opening that allows the insertion of a third layer of virus protection if needed. I am grateful for the opportunity to create this art piece. It has given me purpose and meaning in this unprecedented time. To be part of this online community of artists creatively responding to the pandemic has been a blessing. It has been a way to honour the strength, resilience and creativity of my grandmothers and given me the priviledge of appreciating the heritage and resilience of my Canadian sisters and brothers.

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