In many ways, my newest job has drawn together my work as educator, writer, traveller, and lifelong learner, my interest in Indigenous ways of knowing, and my enthusiasm for the arts.
I met Margaret Nazon, a Gwich’in beader from Tsiigehtchic, Northwest Territories, Canada, at the Adaka Cultural Festival in Whitehorse, Yukon. Her work fascinated me because she was using the beading skills she’d learned as a child to interpret images from the Hubble Space Telescope. The writer in me itched to know more, and I asked if she would grant me an interview. She said, “Would you come to my village to do it?” I didn’t have to think twice. I spent four days with Margaret and her partner Bob at their gorgeous A-frame home overlooking the Mackenzie River Delta. The article I wrote about Margaret and her work was published in The Walrus in April 2020.
In early 2020, Margaret approached me with a new request. “I just want to bead,” she said. “Would you like to manage the other parts of my business?” Of course. The popularity of Margaret’s work, among galleries, museums, government agencies, and private collectors, was on the rise, occurring largely without any type of deliberate social media presence. I’m in the process of building her a website (I’ll announce its launch here) and talking on her behalf to interested buyers.