The 13 Cedar Robes
About the Vision
In the summer of 2012 we created a vision for celebrating the amazing cultural legacy of the Indigenous Women of Turtle Island! The idea was to promote our cultural legacy in a positive, empowering way to inspire young women in our community to explore their heritage, celebrate our strengths and to create an opportunity to recreate matriarchal traditions in an Urban setting. The inspiration came when Glida Morgan wore her Cedar Robe to present at the World Indigenous Women’s Conference.
Sharon Jinkerson-Brass observed the positive and empowering response to Glida when she wore her robe at the conference. On the journey back to Vancouver, a vision unfolded between Sharon and Glida to create 13 Cedar robes, one to honor each new moon in the lunar year.
The media narrative around Indigenous Women is about our exploitation and struggles in an unequal world. There is no balance in this view because we are also keepers of powerful spiritual medicines and come from a legacy of many courageous and powerful Matriarchal leaders.
This project represented an opportunity to focus on our strengths as women and as a community.
1. Our Northwest Coast Sisters. Painted design by Joseph Robertson.
2. Our Coast Salish Sisters. Salish paddles spindle and Salish eye whorl.
3. The White Buffalo. A Buffalo bone adorned robe.
4. Our Prairie Sisters Feathers. Star quilt hanging with sweet grass.
5. Our Southern Sisters. Turquoise & corn.
6. The Metis. Infinity Metis sash with floral beading.
7. Our Eastern Sisters. Birch bark flowers with eastern style painting.
8. The Earth (Our bodies) with earth coppers.
9. Our Ancestors (The stars) with crystals big dipper Pilates.
10. The Ocean with abalone shell and shell fish.
11. The Moon with the PAFNW logo on the back with luminous beads and wolf pom-poms.
12. Healing (Breast Cancer) Pink ribbons and pink cedar roses.
13. The Trickster Raven with feathers and coyote hair.
The 13 Robes were woven by urban women who represent many nations and ages!
Weaving, cedar bark preparation, beading, Robe construction, working with fur and leather were part of the learning experience for participants.
Each robe has a unique design to honor sisters from across Turtle Island and women’s issues.
Many of the robes are adorned with wolf fur in honor of the Matriarchal clan system.
The Goals for weaving 13 robes
Culture heals, and these robes create an opportunity for women to celebrate and explore their heritage.
All Indigenous women are invited to the circle.
Cultural sharing and experience will help women to find a vital part of themselves.
The Robes represent an opportunity for traditions like kindness, generosity, gentleness, and equality to be fostered in young Matriarchs.
Cultural space and time is essential for traditions to be passed on to future generations.
These Robes are meant to honor all Matriarchs who carry precious knowledge and all those who came before us.
Women need focused energy in order to create health, wellness and connection.
We hope the Robes makes our traditions accessible to Urban Indigenous People who have lost their cultural and community connection.
Are welcome to wear these robes. These Matriarchs will come from many nations and communities, may be female identified, have varying religious beliefs and lifestyle choices.
Who have contributed to the community are always are prioritized to wear the robes; this means celebrated leaders, academics, artists and more importantly those Matriarchs who have held up their family and have helped our community to grow and thrive.
Was created to emulate and honor all the Matriarchs who came before us as best we can there should be a ceremony to bring the Matriarchs to a state of oneness before they are presented in the community!
The Robe Bundle
Is intended to inspire our young Matriarchs with positive imagery, energy and intention. It is sacred and should not be exploited for political, economic or social reasons.
The weaving of cedar has been a sacred ceremony since time immemorial. The cedar provided our ancestors with shelter, transportation, clothing and tools.
The cedar was a part of us and we, the cedar. Indigenous peoples across Turtle Island consider Cedar one of the four sacred medicines gifted to us by the great spirit. Those gifts are Cedar, Tobacco, Sage and Sweet grass.
“We can feel our Ancestors with us when we weave. It’s as natural and necessary to us as eating and breathing.”
Wayne Bell, Hereditary Chief
Cedar bark masks are considered to be in the style of the historic Kwagiulth art. Wayne began weaving at the age of five with Henry Jumbo Bell and was given permission to teach and to harvest the cedar bark by Captain George Quocksister (Kwinkwolith). His eagle cedar bark mask is displayed at the Senate in Ottawa, ON.
Donna Hansen – Glakwa Homalco
GlakwaKweenie was raised in the Sliammon First Nation. Her Great Grandmother Rose Quocksister (nee Quattel) only spoke Kwakwalla. GlakwaKweenie lived in Rock Bay where her Grandfather Albert was born. Wayne Bell, her partner, has been her Kwagiulth mentor in art, weaving, traditional foods and medicine for 16 years.
Heather Bell Callaghan
Was born and raised in the Southern Yukon. She is of Inland-Coastal Tlingit and Norwegian/Irish Ancestry and takes pride in learning about her roots from both of her parent’s cultural backgrounds. Her first artistic mentor was her grandmother, Tlingit Artist Eliza Bosely (nee Fox), who lovingly shared with her granddaughter various technical skills, and design ideas, that she thought were both useful and beautiful. Heather is from the Eagle-Killer Whale Clan.
Avis Nalaga O’Brien
Is a Haida/Kwakwakw’wakw Artist. Born in Alert Bay, British Columbia. She belongs to the Kaa’was Staa’stas Eagle Clan from Kiusta Village in Haida Gwaii and the Geegilgum Clan of the Likwiolk people of Cape Mudge. Nalaga is a carver, weaver, painter, designer and jeweler. She started her company, N alaga Designs in 2013 as a way to share the cultural knowledge and elegance of cedar bark weaving with the world. Cedar bark weaving has been her connection to the rich legacy of the Haida and Kwakwakw’wakw.