Teresa Vander Meer-Chassé (b. 1992) is a proud member of the White River First Nation of Beaver Creek, Yukon and Alaska. Her beadwork is inspired by the strong women in her life, her mother, aunts, and grandmothers and the support of the caring men in her life, her father, uncles, cousins, and grandfathers. Teresa is mostly a self-taught artist however her Grandma Marilyn, an Upper Tanana Elder and residential school Survivor, encouraged her to start by providing her with supplies, examples, and templates. The purpose of the residential schools was to strip Indigenous children of their culture and amalgamate them into “society.” Many Survivors of the schools had to relearn their languages and cultures, including Teresa’s Grandmother. Knowing the importance of cultural revitalization Teresa’s Grandmother encouraged her to bead and sew.
Teresa defines herself as a contemporary Upper Tanana visual artist and garbage beautifier. She primarily works with beads, hides, bones, quills, felts, and abalone. Her collection includes The Pylon, The Shoe, This is Donnie he reminds me of Frank, Headlines, Untitled (Resilience), Sisters, and “Rez Car.” Teresa incorporates her Upper Tanana culture in all the work she creates. She is not afraid of being different and ensures each piece she creates is unique and imaginative.
In 2016, Teresa received a prestigious YVR Youth Scholarship award. This scholarship provided her with $5,000 and a year to complete a piece of work. In May 2017, she presented the work to YVR where it remains on display for yet another year.
Currently, Teresa is collaborating with Nicole Bauberger on a series of raven-inspired sculptural works using found tire remnants. This collaboration is funded by Canada Council for the Arts, to learn more please visit http://www.scavengingforraven.wordpress.com or visit her Facebook page: Ddhalh kit Nelnah’s Beadings (facebook.com/teresasbeadings).
Teresa is a member of the Aboriginal Curatorial Collective and Yukon Art Society.