This design was inspired by Mi’kmaq quill work, something in which the Mi’kmaq people are famous for. I wanted to represent the Northeastern First Nation people of Canada. We often see many representations of Indigenous cultures from the north such as Inuit and Cree. Also from the west and the south such as Black foot, Ojibway, Apache, etc. Those are the familiar Art styles that we often see represented in mainstream media.
Even though different tribes share some similarities with each other, each one is unique. I know my people did not wear headdresses like the ones in the west and south, nor do I believe the famous and now commercialized dream catcher originated with us. So that is why I took my inspiration from works of art actually created by our people. Quill work is one of those works of art that has been around for centuries and was widely used by the Mi'kmaq.
I used a sunrise design to go with the theme of this year's conference "A New Dawn in Indigenous Economies". I added two circles interlocking to symbolize unity, one is a half circle connected to the earth, meaning we are grounded and close to mother earth. What the theme says to me is, we are gaining back our pride and independence as the first people of this country by reconnecting and coming together.
The human figure at the top is what I used to symbolize our ancestors that came before us. There are small white dots behind them going in a disk shape, those are stars. I put them there to say, that our ancestors that are above will guide us through changes and lessons in life. The tipi's or "wigwams", I used to represent "home". This is where home is and it has been for centuries.
And lastly, the bottom design was inspired by the traditional double curve that is used in many works of art of the Mi'kmaq people. I used some elements such as the berries at the end and the flower in the middle to represent nature's abundance and our growth as a nation.
Rebecca Dunnett is an emerging Mi'kmaq artist from Metepenagiag First Nation, New Brunswick. She is a student at NBCCD and mainly works with oil paints but is also branching off to other art mediums. She takes inspiration from her rich culture and wishes to portray some of the traditional teachings and history in her artwork.