Feather Dance: Nesting

"Feather Dance" is an Indigenous-led, Indigenous-settler collaboration in textile arts, with a focus on storytelling, wisdom sharing, relationship building, and community handwork. In the words of Rikki Kooy, the Indigenous lead artist for the project, "‘Feather Dance’ is a work of hands extended in friendship, reaching out to each other as we walk the journey of faith together.” We are grateful to the Anglican Foundation of Canada and valued private donors for funding this work.

Meet Rikki Kooy, Indigenous art designer and "Feather Dance" project lead. Rikki has decades of experience in art and fashion design in a cultural tradition, and over twenty-five years of experience collaborating with and mentoring Master and emerging Aboriginal artists. She is also a volunteer Residential School Survivor counselor. We are deeply honoured to have her guiding us in every aspect of this project.

An introduction from Rikki: X’eytkp

Slex’Lex tuets NuxEnx ren skwest? My Simpu’c Northern Secwepemc of

Stswecem’c/Xgat’temMy splek slwest? Rikki Kooy My swe’lwe Jack Kooy my stsm’emelt , Jake, Martin and La loya, splek slwest? Racelle Kooy. My imts Kew’la’lu splek slwet? Jessica Marple and Lauren Rogers. My meme7, Princess Lillian Cecilia Hillman, My x’pe7e from Lil’wat territory, Stat’lim Sto:lo Chief Harry Peters Kx’e7e was Julia Krause. My p’pe7 is Eric Alexis Hillman of Stswecem’c/Xgat’tem territory, son X’pe7e Edwin Augustive Hillman and Kx’e7e Northern Scewepemc’ of Stwwecem’c Marianne Meshue.

Rikki began our time together with an overview of the evening and then invited her daughter, Racelle Laloya Kooy, to offer territorial acknowledgement and open our first Feather Dance gathering with song and ceremony.

We enjoyed a time of story telling and reflections on the purpose of love: relationship.

Rikki and her husband Jack Kooy brought an abundance of Indigenous art and accompanying stories with them for our Feather Dance launch event, to engage our senses and set the tone for our listening and learning journey.

To get those gathered engaged in some introductory handwork, Rikki had prepared materials for the creation of a community banner celebrating what we hoped to demonstrate in the Feather Dance project as a whole.

We were all eager to engage in a quiet time of creative contemplation, taking in the invitation to consider the purpose of love and how it might shine through the Indigenous-settler collaboration we've undertaken with Feather Dance.

It was a delight to explore the colours and textures of the materials provided, and let inspiration lead our creativity. The community banner will be present at all of our Feather Dance gatherings for more additions of art and prayer.

Event refreshments followed the theme with decorate-your-own feather cookies!

Rikki wrapped up our evening together with words of blessing, encouragement, and gratitude. She'd prepared feather-themed scarves as tokens of blessing.

Racelle Laloya Kooy sang and drummed over us as we concluded our first Feather Dance gathering.

For more information on the Feather Dance Liturgical Textile Arts project, contact us at sthildegards@icloud.com.

All photos are ©Sandra Vander Schaaf. All rights reserved.