JAMES BAY BEADED HOOD PROJECT
My name is Sheila Wheesk. I am a member of the MRHHA committee. I research historical information, and I have traveled to various organizations to present and promote the James Bay beaded hood project. The tradition of making Cree beaded hoods is a cultural activity with a long, rich history.
Scholars, such as Cathy Oberholtzer, researched the James Bay beaded hoods and discovered the hoods were created from natural resources before European contact. Cree women cleaned and tanned caribou hide, made sinew, dyed porcupine quills, and collected shells, fruit stones, and animal hair. Since time immemorial, Cree women wore their hoods and danced while Cree men drummed and sang in honour of the caribous’ spirits for giving their lives for the survival of Cree families. Over time, the innovative Cree adopted European trade goods and incorporated them onto the beaded hoods using their advanced crafting skills.
So much has happened with our Omushkegowuk and Moose Cree women’s beaded hood project, and here is an update. Laurie Sutherland, MRHHA’s Coordinator, organized beaded hoods workshops. On December 14, 2022, I presented the history of the Cree beaded hoods to the Cree community at the Cree Culture Interpretive Centre (CCIC) in Moose Factory, Ontario. Ten Cree women received beaded hood kits. Each kit helped the participants start making a beaded hood. The kit contains assorted colours and sizes of seed beads, thread, stroud, liner, beading needles, and stabilizer. The kits are provided by the Moose River Heritage and Hospitality Association (MRHHA).
On February 17, 2023, Laurie arranged for the beaded hood makers to meet at her family’s camp on the Moose River. I met the women and listened as they shared the local historical impacts that colonization had and continues to have on them. The MRHHA provided the groceries for this event. After the women made their hoods, there was a community feast to welcome the beaded hoods back to James Bay.
If you would like to make a beaded hood, please reach out to Laurie Sutherland at email@example.com. She will send you a kit by mail and answer any questions you may have about the project. Click this link to a YouTube video in which I explain the history of the beaded hoods and demonstrate how to begin one – Part 1 of making the western James Bay Beaded Hood – YouTube.
The historical changes of the western James Bay women beaded hood project
Part 1 of making the western James Bay Beaded Hood
Here is our Facebook name and Zoom link, which we meet once a week to bead as a group.