Beading Program Re-Connects Students to Their Culture and Traditions

By: SaskCulture Staff January, 2019

Students from the Albert Community School in Regina are learning about the art of beading and a whole lot more, thanks to a beading and sewing program, coordinated through a Dream Broker program in Regina.

Stacey Laing, the Dream Broker who initiated the beading and sewing activity, says the idea for the activity started after she had noticed a lack of cultural context in the programming currently offered for school-age children in the city. 

“My job is to connect our kids and families with things that are already existing within the community,” she says.  “I create programs when I see that there is a gap in what's being offered, and beading was definitely one of them.”

Laing says some of the students are often craving to know more about their culture, and that the beading and sewing activity has been able to integrate First Nation stories and teaching with the artistic learnings. She explains that there has been an increase in the kids that participate in this activity. In 2018, there were about ten students registered for the program. This year, there are about 20 students who consistently come in every Monday to learn how to bead traditionally, along with the teachings, stories and history.

“I think the best part is when a kid finishes the project, they always want to give it away. They say, ‘I want to give this to my mum, aunt or kokum or whoever it is,’” she says. “When they get that moment to give their hard work, it's really exciting. Their parents are always shocked like ‘wow, these earrings are actually beautiful,’ and that ‘I didn't think my grade five kid could do something like this.’”

According to Laing, funding and support from Creative Kids helped create these opportunities for students to learn more about their heritage and culture. 

“It's been great to be able to partner with programs such as Creative Kids throughout the years. I have been a Dream Broker for almost seven years and without support from these programs, we wouldn't be able to do our job,” she adds.

The Dream Broker Program started as an initiative by Sask Sport in partnership with the Regina Public and Catholic School Boards. Over the years, SaskCulture has partnered with Sask Sport and the Saskatchewan Parks Recreation Association to support the program, and ensure children and youth get the chance to participate in sports, culture and recreational opportunities.