The Story Behind the Indigenous Art on Bringing Good Medicine Plates by Jackie Traverse


Jackie Traverse's multi-disciplinary approach to art


Jackie Traverse is a renowned Indigenous artist who hails from Lake St. Martin First Nation in Manitoba, Canada. She has been creating art for over two decades and her work has been exhibited in galleries across North America. Traverse's approach to art is multi-disciplinary, using various mediums and techniques to create unique and meaningful pieces.

Mediums Used

Traverse's artwork spans across various mediums including painting, sculpture, installation, printmaking and mixed media. One of the most prominent features of her paintings is the use of vibrant colours that evoke feelings of joy and positivity. Her sculptures often incorporate natural materials such as wood or stone which serve to connect the viewer with nature.

Techniques Utilized

In addition to utilizing different mediums Traverse also employs a variety of techniques when creating her art pieces. For example, she incorporates traditional Indigenous beading into some works adding an additional layer of cultural significance. Her mixed media works often include found objects such as old photographs or discarded items which are repurposed into something new.

Inspiration for Bringing Good Medicine Plates

One notable series by Jackie Traverse is "Bringing Good Medicine Plates". The inspiration behind these plates came from her desire to promote healing within communities affected by inter-generational trauma caused by residential schools in Canada. Each plate features an image that represents a specific type of medicine used traditionally by Indigenous peoples for healing purposes.

The combination of traditional and contemporary cultural reflections in her work

Jackie Traverse's Bringing Good Medicine Plates represent a unique blend of traditional and contemporary cultural reflections. Through her art, she reflects both her Indigenous background and life experiences in modern society.

Traditional cultural reflections

Traverse's artwork is deeply rooted in her Ojibwa culture, which she learned from her family. She incorporates traditional symbols and images into her art to reflect this heritage. Many of the designs on the plates include representations of animals such as bears or eagles, which are important spiritual symbols for many Indigenous peoples. The use of vibrant colors and intricate patterns also draws inspiration from traditional beadwork and quillwork.

Contemporary cultural reflections

In addition to drawing on traditional elements, Traverse includes contemporary imagery that reflects her experiences living in modern society. For example, some plates feature images of cars or airplanes alongside more traditional motifs. These juxtapositions highlight the tension between Indigenous cultures and mainstream Western culture that many individuals experience today.

By combining these two distinct cultural influences in one piece of art, Traverse creates a powerful commentary on identity and belonging in contemporary society. Her work speaks not only to those with an interest in Indigenous traditions but also to anyone who has ever grappled with what it means to be part of multiple cultures at once.

The significance of the artist's Anishinabe cultural background

Indigenous Heritage and Culture in Art

Jackie Traverse's Anishinabe cultural background has had a significant impact on her art style. As an Indigenous artist, she incorporates traditions and teachings from her heritage into her work. Her Bringing Good Medicine Plates series is no exception. The plates are adorned with traditional motifs, such as the turtle or medicine wheel, that hold deep spiritual meaning for Traverse's community. These symbols serve as reminders of the importance of respecting nature and living in harmony with it.

Representation Matters

Traverse's artwork is not only aesthetically pleasing but also serves to promote representation of contemporary Indigenous artists. In a world where minority groups are often underrepresented or misrepresented in mainstream media, art can be used as a powerful tool for change. By showcasing Indigenous culture through her art, Traverse hopes to inspire others to learn about and appreciate the beauty of diverse cultures.

Revitalizing Traditional Practices

Additionally, Traverse uses her art to preserve traditional practices that were once lost due to colonization efforts by European settlers. Through studying ancient artifacts left behind by their ancestors and learning from Elders within their communities who have preserved these traditions throughout generations despite attempts at forced assimilation during residential schools era period (1876-1996), many indigenous artists like Jackie traverse today create artworks inspired by ancestral stories which brings them closer towards revitalization process alongside preserving intangible heritage values for future generations so they may continue practicing them without losing touch entirely over time altogether altogether due lack interest awareness or relevancy among younger individuals today who might otherwise forget what their elders passed down along oral tradition lines until now when new technology allows us access all knowledge just fingertips away!

The artist's commitment to her community and teaching of First Nations' traditional teachings

Jackie Traverse's dedication to her community

Jackie Traverse is not only an artist but also a community activist. She has been committed to advocating for Indigenous rights and cultural preservation in Canada throughout her career. This commitment can be seen in her artwork, which often addresses issues like residential schools, missing and murdered Indigenous women, and the ongoing struggle for sovereignty.

Traverse's passion for social justice is informed by her own experiences growing up as an Indigenous person in Canada. Her family was impacted by the residential school system, which forcibly removed Indigenous children from their families and communities in order to assimilate them into white Canadian culture. The trauma of this history continues to affect generations of Indigenous people today, including Traverse herself.

In response to these challenges facing her community, Traverse has become involved with various organizations that work towards healing and reconciliation. For example, she is a member of the Manitoba Arts Council's Aboriginal Advisory Committee and has worked with organizations like Ka Ni Kanichihk on projects related to cultural revitalization.

Passing down traditional teachings through art workshops

One way that Traverse shares First Nations' traditional teachings is through art workshops. These workshops are designed not only as opportunities for participants to create their own artwork but also as spaces where they can learn about traditional First Nations practices.

For example, one workshop that Traverse facilitated was focused on creating dreamcatchers - an iconic symbol of Anishinaabe culture used historically to protect sleepers from bad dreams or negative energy. In addition to teaching participants how to weave the dreamcatchers themselves using natural materials like sinew and feathers, she shared stories about the origins of this tradition and its spiritual significance within Anishinaabe culture.

Through these kinds of workshops - which cover topics ranging from beadwork techniques to making medicine pouches - Traverse hopes not only to pass down specific skills but also more broadly foster pride in First Nations heritage among participants regardless of their background or identity.


By exploring Jackie traverse's story behind "Bringing Good Medicine Plates," we have gained insight into both the personal inspiration behind this powerful series as well as some broader themes around challenging systemic oppression while reclaiming cultural heritage.

As tourists visiting Edmonton or simply lovers of art seeking out new perspectives on contemporary issues affecting indigenous people globally,this collection will surely leave you feeling moved- taking you on a journey beyond what meets the eye at first glance..

The importance of supporting indigenous artists and their work as an Edmonton souvenir

Indigenous art is an essential part of Canadian culture, and Edmonton has a rich history in promoting and showcasing this artwork. One way tourists and art lovers visiting Edmonton can support the local indigenous community is by purchasing their work as souvenirs. Not only does it provide visitors with unique mementos of their time in the city, but it also supports the livelihoods of indigenous artists who rely on sales to sustain themselves financially.

By supporting indigenous artists, visitors are not just buying a piece of art but contributing to preserving cultural heritage and traditions. Indigenous artwork often tells stories about important events or teachings passed down through generations, making them both aesthetically pleasing and culturally significant. Moreover, buying these artworks ensures that they continue to be made for future generations to enjoy.

Purchasing indigenous artworks as souvenirs also contributes positively towards the local economy by creating job opportunities for people within the community. It encourages entrepreneurship among aspiring artists who may not have had access to traditional markets before. This economic development leads to stronger communities where people can thrive based on their talents rather than being reliant on external sources.


In conclusion, the Bringing Good Medicine Plates by Jackie Traverse showcase the beauty and significance of Indigenous art. Through her work, Jackie celebrates her culture and traditions while also sharing them with others. This collection serves as a reminder of the importance of supporting Indigenous artists and their communities. By purchasing pieces like these plates, we can help to preserve and promote this unique form of expression for generations to come. As tourists or art lovers visiting Edmonton, we have an opportunity to appreciate and learn from the diverse cultures that make up our world. Let us continue to support Indigenous artists in their endeavors to share their stories through art.

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