My Grandma Marilyn created a moosehide dress for me when I was young. We extended the dress with another piece of hide for my high school graduation. The dress fits, however, it’s a two person job to put the very heavy and hot dress on. Because of the constant hastle, I decided I wanted to have a vest.
Many believe that regalia should be created by someone in your family and gifted to you. It is not often done for a person to create their own regalia. I went against this common way of creating regalia and decided that I wanted to create my own. I planned on creating a moosehide vest featuring my beadwork.
I began to bead a large rose for the back of my vest while I was travelling across Ireland with my friend, Lisa. While I was in Dublin, Ireland I attended the internationally-known conference, MuseumNext. There I was able to make many connections that would eventually lead to me attending the conference again in New York City.
I eagerly put together my vest within a weekend so I would have something to wear on “Aboriginal” Day. As I walked proudly to the front doors of the Kwanlin Dun Cultural Centre I had encountered a not-so-pleasant situation. Three visibly Indigenous men had loudly asked “Why does a white chick get to wear a vest?” Rather than letting this comment go, I confronted the men and told them exactly why their question was entirely inaccurate. After a small lecture, one man quickly realized that we are related.
I continue to wear this vest with pride and will continue to add beadwork to it.