Vendor Expo at Timmins Native Friendship Centre brings community closer to Indigenous roots
A vendor expo at the Timmins Native Friendship Centre on Sunday, gave people in the community an opportunity to buy authentic Indigenous handcrafted items such as moccasins, beaded jewellery and a variety of artwork.
Annie Weesk, originally from Fort Albany, has lived in Timmins most of her life and for the past forty or fifty years she said, she's been handcrafting moccasins and knitted socks. She said her late mother-in-law, Laura, taught her.
"A day a pair to make yeah, same with these (knitted socks) I make two socks a week," she said.
The Timmins Native Friendship Centre organized the one-day event to give artisans a place to sell their goods.
Various types of beaded jewellery was available from a number of vendors, all showing different styles. Dec.5/21 (Lydia Chubak/CTV News Northern Ontario)Various types of beaded jewellery was available from a number of vendors, all showing different styles. Dec.5/21 (Lydia Chubak/CTV News Northern Ontario)
“The beading; the painting; the sewing; and all of that. That’s all stuff that we learned from our grandparents and unfortunately I never picked up on any of that good stuff," said Caitlyn Kaltwasser, a youth employment worker at the Timmins Native Friendship Centre.
"I’m happy to bring the people that do together so people like me can purchase beautiful things as well.”
Feather Metatawabin is selling prints of her late father's original artwork. She said he was sick and died while waiting in a hospital emergency room. Twelve years later she said she's ready to work at keeping his art and memory alive.
“Now that I’m growing older and I’m realizing the truth more. I’m in university. I’m learning a lot about colonization and Canada’s dark history and it just made me appreciate and be proud that I’m native. I understand my father now," she said.
Officials said items purchased here not only serve practical purposes, but are infused with knowledge and spirit from the Hudson and James Bay Coasts.
"They put their heart and soul into this work," said Kaltwasser.
David Laneville of Timmins said he comes regularly to support the artisans at these vendor expos.
“I have mitts that are well over 40 years old and so they last for a long time. They’re warm as all get out. Again just quality stuff from the artisans that are here."
Shopping and chatting can work up an appetite and 'Indian tacos' were served for lunch--deep fried bannock is used instead of a tortilla shell.
This vendor expo is celebrating its eighth anniversary after taking a two year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.