My name is Desiree Streit, I am an Anishinaabe/Nehiyawak/Métis artist currently residing in Gatineau, QC. My beadwork is informed by my life experiences as an Indigenous child who grew up in two worlds, in northern Manitoba. Regardless of where I am or where I live, I have always felt a deep desire to connect to the Indigenous community I live in.
I began beading in the first winter of the pandemic (January 2021) after speaking to an Elder (virtually). She knew I was struggling with stress and anxiety and suggested I learn to bead, as a way to find something to connect to since all community events were postponed and/or cancelled. I have learned how to bead from the online community, through youtube and Instagram. I also learned from fellow beaders via informal beading circles.
Beading has given me space to connect with myself and my culture on a deeper level. Beading has filled me with a sense of purpose and worth that nothing else in my life has ever been able to do. Now that community events are opening up again, I have a growing sense that I want to become part of the Indigenous arts community.
I am an educator, researcher, public servant, and proud mother of three beautiful children. I grew up in The Pas, a small town in Northern Manitoba. I hold a Bachelor of Physical Education, and a Bachelor of Education with a minor in Native Studies from the University of Manitoba (U of M). During my time in Winnipeg, I also worked with local Indigenous youth at Children of the Earth high school, at a drop-in after-school program and mentorship program via a research grant through the U of M. I completed my Master of Arts in Education (M.A.Ed.) at the University of Ottawa. My thesis was centred on the phenomenon of learning to teach in relation and is informed by a relational, embodied framework centred on the teachings found within the medicine wheel.
I moved out East in 2009 and started having children in the years that followed. In pre-pandemic times, while juggling babies, thesis writing, and work, I did my best to maintain a connection to the local Indigenous community, and to my own Anishinaabe, Nehiyawak, and Métis culture. I worked as a KAIROS blanket exercise facilitator, took in-person Anishinaabemowin classes, participated in sharing circles, and attended pow-wows with my kids, ceremony, and Elder teachings. I attended regular smudges and teachings through the Kumik Lodge and Iskotew Lodge (Government lodges). In addition, now that our school community is opening up again, I am working within my children's elementary school to build up the Indigenous parents group and to create a Reconciliation Circle to advance Truth and Reconciliation at their school.