Didi Grandjambe, a Cree beadwork artist residing in the Fort McKay First Nation, has only been beading for four years. Her first project, a beaded tie for her nephew’s graduation, sparked a passion and she’s been going strong ever since. “Beading runs in my family – both my grandmother and my great-grandmother beaded – but they weren’t around when I was growing up. So I taught myself. I grew up in an urban culture, but once I moved to Fort McKay, I got more involved in traditional activities, including beading and trapping.”
Didi uses the furs from trapping when she creates moccasins and mitts. She beads those as well as lanyards, earrings and hat bands along with other personal projects. Didi also participated in the #BeadYourProvince | #BeadYourState project in 2020 where her design of Alberta was chosen for the final map.
When Didi created her version of the Petro-Canada logo, she knew what she wanted to do – though it did take her two tries.
Didi is pleased to be part of Petro-Canada’s beaded logo initiative and hopes more companies will follow suit with projects that will start the process of educating others. “Reaching out to local people who do traditional crafts… it really brings awareness to our culture. It starts a process of people asking questions and wanting to learn more.”
This process of awareness also applies to Canadians learning about Truth and Reconciliation. “We won’t have change if we don’t fully recognize and acknowledge the past. People need to be aware of the history of Canada and Indigenous people. I know a lot of people didn’t learn the truth in school. It’s great that companies like Petro-Canada are teaching it to their employees in the workplace. Really, this was only a generation ago. We all have friends or relatives who went to Residential school. It will take a while before everyone acknowledges and knows the truth of what really happened; but then, hopefully, people will start engaging in crucial conversations that result in steps towards truth and reconciliation.