Mi’kmaw artist designs poppies to honour Mi’kmaw veterans

For the last five years, Cheyenne Isaac-Gloade, of Listuguj First Nation, beads poppies, to honour Indigenous veterans, with a Mi’kmaw twist – porcupine quills.

“I put my own spin on them, I added quills, because I did that in reference to Mi’kmaq culture, so we use a lot of quills and I just put my own twist on my poppies, although I still do the beaded ones as well, I think I’m a little bit known for the quill ones,” says Isaac-Gloade.

Mi’kmaw quillwork can be seen in museums around the world, such as the British Museum in London England.

Historically, the Mi’kmaw used porcupine quills to decorate items, and were sold or traded with Europeans.

A Multimedia artist, designing regalia, quillwork and basketry, Isaac-Gloade is inspired by Mi’kmaw tradition,

“There’s some really amazing pieces from the 18, 1900’s that are fully quilled you know baskets and chairs and cradles and just all kinds of amazing things so I was really inspired by that and I feel like I incorporate that all throughout my art as much as possible,” says Isaac-Gloade.

The porcupine quills, dyed, and cut at the ends, are threaded onto the poppy.

The poppy is a symbol of remembrance, it was inspired by a poem written by a Canadian soldier during the First World War.

Isaac-Gloade designs her poppies to honor Mi’kmaw veterans.

“I think it was so important as a Mi’kmaw artist I represent Mi’kmaw culture through poppies as well as be able to wear these amazing beaded or quilled poppies that represent something a lot more meaningful,” says Isaac-Gloade.

The quilled poppies can cost up to 80 dollars, but Isaac-Gloade gives 25 per cent of the sale to the veterans.

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