TA Students Create their own Regalia

TA Students Create their own Regalia
Posted on 01/26/2023
This is the image for the news article titled TA Students Create their own RegaliaLyneya Parisien holds up the regalia she is making

Every Wednesday during lunch hour, Room 107 at St. Thomas Aquinas High School is filled with the vibrant colours of Pow wow regalia and the mesmerizing jingle of hundreds of tin cones that will soon adorn the fabric. In amongst the materials and desks are students working away on a sewing machine, cutting ribbon or stringing jingles as they design and craft their very own regalia.

“For years the school system for our Indigenous people was an unhappy situation with residential schools,” said leader of the regalia workshop Kim Sandy Kasprick “Participating in cultural events was illegal, attending cultural events was illegal, speaking the language was illegal, wearing regalia was illegal. Now we want our kids to be proud of who they are and wearing their own creations and celebrating that relationship with their Creator. When they dance they’re dancing for Creator, their families, themselves and their communities.”

Sandy Kasprick and Betty Jean Echum are running the workshops after they noticed a lack of student involvement at the KCDSB Spring Pow wow last year.

Kim Sandy Kasprick points to a fancy shawl design“I asked the students when the pow wow was coming up if they were going to dance and many of them said they didn’t have regalia,” said Sandy Kasprick. “One student in fact said they’d paid someone to make it and then he never got his regalia. So, we thought maybe we should have a workshop where we can help students make the regalia, at least the basics.”

Many of the girls in the workshop are designing and crafting jingle dresses, however there are also a few fancy shawls and one boy is making a grass dance outfit.

“It looked fun and I wanted to make my own regalia and get experience making my own,” said Grade 9 student Lyneya Parisien.

Parisien is one of 10 students taking part in the lessons. She’s designed a jingle dress and is close to being able to assemble the entire outfit. So far she’s been enjoying the workshops.

“It’s been really good. Kind of hard but you get used to it. Sewing is definitely the hardest part,” she said.

Students have been learning to sew as well as how to cut fabric using a pattern. They also need to cut and prepare their jingles, ribbon or fringe according to their design. The group is hoping to have their regalia ready in time for this year’s Spring Pow wow in May. Sandy Kasprick hopes this will help give students the courage to join in the dancing.

“If you just put one step in front of the other and a little hop that’s a good starting point,” she said. “You don’t have to be a fabulous dancer, just participate. It’s about participation, being proud of your culture. It gives them a sense of identity and gives them strength to pursue other goals.”
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