Angel M. Hinzo (Winnebago/ Ho-Chunk)
I was honored to bead this year’s artwork for the 4th Annual Native American Studies Graduate Student Symposium “Remaking the Indigenous Universe: Vision, Praxis, and Tradition”. I am fairly new to beading. I contributed to the Walking With Our Sisters Commemorative Art Installation for the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women of Canada and the USA in 2013. Although I have been sewing since I was young, this was my first beading project. I have to thank Professor Hulleah Tsinhnahjinnie from the NAS department for inviting me to a sewing circle, sharing her materials, and taking the time to show me how to bead. Beading has enabled me to reconnect to family traditions and I feel lucky to be part of a department that has fostered my growth in this way.
The Walking With Our Sisters art installation consists of 1,725 pairs of moccasin vamps or uppers with each pair representing a murdered or missing Indigenous woman. Contributing to this installation meant a lot to me considering this message and the connection to violence committed against Native women. In acknowledgement of this art installation and the community activism of Native American communities across the Americas, I beaded a pair of vamps for this year’s Native American Studies Graduate Student Symposium. Drawing from this year’s symposium theme which emphasizes the act of creating, tradition, and imagining a future for Native peoples, I beaded Coyote in the act of creation. Coyote is a first person who is commonly found throughout the traditions of Indigenous peoples in the Americas. Coyote is capable of creating and having great power but often learns lessons related to the original instructions of Creator. This parallels how academics must be aware of their own influence and impact in the creation of their own work. Turtle and humans are represented on the second vamp connecting all of humanity to turtle island and our impact here.
I am a descendant of those who survived being ripped from their homeland.
When I work on a beading project I feel whole. Like I’m stitching together myself, my family, and traditions. Thank you to the 2015 Symposium Committee for your work in organizing the Native American Studies Graduate Student Symposium.