Jackie Traverse: The Anishinabe Artist Using Art to Promote Healing and Reconciliation


The Healing Power of Art for Indigenous Peoples

Art has always been an integral part of Indigenous cultures and traditions, serving as a means of expression, communication, and storytelling. Over the years, it has also become a powerful tool for promoting healing and reconciliation in Indigenous communities across Canada. From visual arts to music and dance, art can help individuals connect with their cultural heritage while also providing them with an outlet to express themselves creatively.

For many Indigenous peoples who have experienced trauma or intergenerational trauma due to residential schools, colonization, and other forms of systemic oppression, art offers a way to process difficult emotions and experiences that may be difficult to articulate verbally. It allows people to explore their identity and culture while working through complex feelings such as grief or anger.

In recent years, there has been growing recognition of the role that art can play in promoting healing within Indigenous communities. Organizations like Edmonton's Bent Arrow Traditional Healing Society offer programs that use traditional arts such as beading or drum-making as a form of therapy for youth who have experienced trauma. Artists like Jackie Traverse incorporate themes related to residential schools into their work as a way of raising awareness about these issues while also promoting healing.

By creating spaces where individuals can engage with their cultural heritage through artistic expression, organizations are empowering people to reclaim their identities after centuries of systemic oppression aimed at erasing them entirely. While much work remains ahead in terms of achieving true reconciliation between Indigenous peoples and non-Indigenous Canadians alike, initiatives that focus on using art for healing represent an important step forward towards this goal.

Overall,harnessing the power of creativity is proving itself invaluable when it comes not only connecting indigenous peoples but also facilitating emotional growth - something truly essential towards developing meaningful relationships built on mutual respect moving forward..

Jackie Traverse: An Artist Raising Awareness of Indigenous Issues

Jackie Traverse is an Anishinabe artist based in Winnipeg, Manitoba who uses her art to raise awareness about issues facing First Nations communities. Her work incorporates a variety of mediums including painting, sculpture and installation art. Traverse's art is inspired by her own experiences growing up on the Lake St. Martin First Nation and the intergenerational trauma experienced by Indigenous peoples due to colonization.

Traverse's artwork often focuses on themes such as residential schools, missing and murdered Indigenous women, and the ongoing struggle for land rights. One of her most well-known pieces is a series of painted dolls representing missing or murdered Indigenous women which she created in response to the high rates of violence against Indigenous women in Canada.

Through her art, Traverse aims to promote healing and reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. She believes that educating people about the history of colonialism in Canada can help foster understanding and empathy towards Indigenous peoples.

Traverse has exhibited her work across Canada including at galleries in Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton and Winnipeg among others. In addition to exhibiting her work publicly, she also teaches workshops where she shares techniques for creating traditional Anishinabe crafts such as beadwork.

Overall, Jackie Traverse's artwork serves as an important reminder of both the resilience of Indigenous communities in the face of historical trauma as well as their ongoing struggles for justice and equality within Canadian society.

Themes and Messages in Jackie Traverse's Art

Jackie Traverse's art is a powerful tool for promoting healing and reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. Her work explores a range of themes and messages, shedding light on some of the most pressing issues facing Indigenous communities in Canada today.

Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women

One of the key themes in Traverse's art is the issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women (MMIW). In her paintings, she depicts strong, resilient women who are standing up against violence, exploitation, and oppression. Through her artwork, Traverse brings attention to the ongoing crisis of MMIW in Canada, which has disproportionately affected Indigenous women across the country.

Traverse's art also highlights the systemic factors that contribute to this epidemic. For example, many MMIW cases have gone unsolved due to inadequate police investigations or bias against Indigenous people within law enforcement. By drawing attention to these issues through her artwork, Traverse aims to raise awareness about this crisis and inspire action towards justice for MMIW families.

The Sixties Scoop

Another important theme in Traverse's art is the legacy of the Sixties Scoop. This dark chapter in Canadian history saw thousands of Indigenous children taken from their families by child welfare agencies and placed into foster care or adopted out to non-Indigenous families. Many survivors describe feeling disconnected from their culture as a result of this traumatic experience.

Through her artwork, Traverse addresses this painful legacy by depicting scenes from residential schools or reuniting family members who were separated during this time period. She also emphasizes cultural resilience by showing how traditional practices such as smudging can help heal intergenerational trauma caused by colonialism.

By exploring these difficult topics through her artwork with sensitivity and insightfulness Jackie Traverse creates visibility around social injustice faced by indigenous people while celebrating their strengths ,resilience,culture contributing towards healing,reconciliation,and societal change .

Teaching Art for Positive Change in the Community

Jackie Traverse's passion for using art as a tool for healing and reconciliation extends beyond her personal practice. She has been actively involved in teaching art in public schools around Edmonton, Alberta, with the goal of promoting positive change within the community. By sharing her knowledge and skills with young students, Traverse hopes to inspire them to use their creativity as a means of expression and problem-solving.

Traverse believes that art can be an effective way to communicate complex issues such as trauma, grief, and loss. Through her workshops and classes, she encourages children to explore their emotions through various mediums such as painting, drawing, sculpture or photography. This process not only allows them to express themselves freely but also helps develop critical thinking skills that are valuable in all areas of life.

Moreover, by incorporating indigenous teachings into her curriculum materials and activities; Jackie Traverse is helping bridge cultural gaps between Indigenous people living in Canada today and other Canadians who may not understand their story fully yet have come together on this land we now call home. Her approach enables students from different backgrounds to connect with each other while learning about diverse cultures' perspectives on worldviews.

By teaching techniques like beadwork or quillwork she is keeping traditional methods alive while introducing contemporary ideas which allow new generations of artists access tools needed when creating work inspired by Anishinabe culture- so they too can take part in preserving our heritage through creative expression!

Supporting Indigenous Artists Like Jackie Traverse

One of the best ways to promote healing and reconciliation is by supporting indigenous artists like Jackie Traverse. By purchasing her artwork, you are not only supporting her as an artist but also promoting indigenous culture and traditions. One of Jackie's most popular items is the Bringing Good Medicine tote bag which features one of her beautiful designs. The tote bag is not only stylish but also functional, making it a perfect accessory for everyday use or as a gift for someone special.

Aside from purchasing art pieces, there are other ways to support indigenous artists like Jackie Traverse. Attending art exhibits, sharing their work on social media platforms or even just spreading awareness about their work can make a significant impact in promoting indigenous cultures across Canada. In Edmonton alone, there are many galleries showcasing Indigenous Art such as Bearclaw Gallery and Art Gallery of Alberta.

Supporting Indigenous artists like Jackie Traverse does more than just provide financial benefits; it promotes cultural understanding between different communities and helps preserve traditional knowledge that might otherwise be lost. As consumers become more conscious about where they spend their money, investing in ethically produced products that support local artisans has become increasingly important.


In conclusion, Jackie Traverse is a talented and inspiring Anishinabe artist using her art to promote healing and reconciliation. Her work sheds light on the injustices faced by Indigenous peoples in Canada while also highlighting their resilience and strength. It is important that we support indigenous artists like Jackie Traverse, not just by appreciating their art but also by actively promoting their work and advocating for social change. We need to continue to learn about Indigenous history, culture, and traditions so that we can build understanding, respect, and trust between all Canadians. By doing so, we can create a future where Indigenous peoples are valued members of society with equitable access to opportunities for success. Let us all work together towards a brighter future for our country as a whole.

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