The teachings that “fashion is a language” are being transferred to me by Sage Paul Cardinal. It’s dynamic and fluid teaching that is shared and expands with every connection to an indigenous fashion designer. On Saturday, May 4, 2019, I witnessed the power of the transformation with the rebirth of robes created by the hands of indigenous women with color from a traditional Algonquin medicine plant. The historical place chosen by Creator and 500 years of ancestor’s bones is the homeland of the “Official Nottoway Tribe of Virginia in Capron.
Before European influenced piano shawls with fringe became part of women’s Native American Regalia, Algonquin Eastern Woodlands people wore robes made from animal hides and woven plant fibers. Contemporary Pow Wow includes the Eastern Blanket Dance, which is typically danced with a purchased “native inspired” Pendleton wool blanket. However, as of May 4th on Nottoway land, indigenous women created their own wool blankets with powerful spiritual examples of how we can heal our selves, our communities, and our land.
Special thanks to Chief Lynette Alston, for her creative cultural vision of inclusion, who encouraged us to have a plant dye workshop. To Allard Alston for his organizational and planning skills. Denise Lowe Waters, who has worked with me over the past year to plan, organize and facilitate a spiritual healing retreat based on traditional indigenous ways of knowing. And to the workshop participants, who are now sisters, Sue Brickhouse, Mary Hoggard, Beth Roach, Sheila Elliott, and Celeste.