Hi, I’m Jenny, I am the Sew & Sew program coordinator for I Love First Peoples. We are incredibly lucky to partner with Janome Canada to bring sewing skills labs to remote communities across the country!
Last May we had the honour to visit the community of Ahtahkakoop Cree Nation on Treaty 6 Territory with. Under the leadership of Marcy Whitefish, Chief Ahtahkakoop School set up their Sew & Sew skills lab at the end of 2022. It has been incredible to follow this journey and see what the students have achieved in just a few months!
On May 17th, the students from Chief Ahtahkakohp School in held a community fashion show. Josee, Iain and I from I Love First Peoples all attended along with Michael and Alan from Janome Canada and Summer and Cricket Testawich from the Bones of Crows film crew. The show was very well attended by the community and there was so much love and pride on the runway!
Students learned how to cut and sew tote bags, ribbon skirts, ribbon shirts and jingle dresses as well as how to create appliqué.
We had a tour of the culture and sewing room from the community's incredibly talented and dedicated teacher Marcy Whitefish. Michael Smith from Janome offered a morning demo for students to get to know their sewing machines a little better and shared some inside tips and tricks to help with future projects. We also covered important details about how to take care of the machines to make sure they can keep working for many years to come!
There was also a lot of last minute stitching and pressing in preparation for the evening fashion show!
When youth have access to quality sewing equipment and a fabulous teacher, magic can truly happen. The sewing lab was dedicated to the late Fred Sasakamoose who was so dedicated to bringing opportunities to Indigenous youth.
Thank you to Principal Shaun Sasakamoose for supporting this program and making space in your school. It's easy to see how much talent there is at Ahtahkakoop by all the beautiful garments the students created.
Here are some shots captured on the runway!
Big thanks to Alan Ranney from Janome, Damon Little (and one of his awesome media students!) from Ahtahkakoop Cree Nation and for the fabulous photos:)
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Sew & Sew Program Coordinator
I Love First Peoples
Our Sew & Sew program could not happen without our amazing sponsors including: Janome Canada, PVH, American Eagle, Evolugen, Manitoulin Transport, The Art For Aid Project as well as many more individual supporters!