With the 2022 Remembrance Day fast approaching, the Lower Nicola Indian Band (LNIB) hosted its annual poppy beading sessions. The activity highlights the community’s appreciation for Remembrance through a common artform among First Nations people. 

On Friday, October 21, LNIB hosted a poppy beading session in the LNIB Culture Centre. The session was the first of four that will be done to recognize Remembrance Day on November 11.

“We do this annually,” said organizer Carole Basil. “We just bring people to bead and create their own poppy. It’s very special to have something you made yourself.” 

Basil has facilitated this Remembrance Day activity for a handful of years. The event was made possible by the LNIB Cultural Revitalization Program.

“We’re just bringing in community members that don’t have the supplies or the time to bead at home,” said Basil. “The experience has been very good. There are always a handful of people who join that have never beaded before. I think that’s the most important part, teaching the ones that have never done it before, this art form.” 

According to Basil, there were a total of 18 kits that were prepared for the four beading sessions, all of which were taken by a participating beader by the time the first session had taken place.

“I know it doesn’t sound a lot but it takes a lot of time to assemble one,” she explained. “You have the beads, you have the backing, you have the pin, the thread, the needle. So I’ve made 18 kits and all of them are now gone.” 

There were 12 people who signed up to assemble the beaded poppies. The rest of the kits were taken home as a DIY project. 

“We have four students and the rest are adults,” Basil described the group. “A lot of them haven’t beaded before so this will be a chance for them to learn basic techniques.”

Beaders get to keep their creation. Basil noted that beading is a popular artform within her community. 

“I think beading is a common First Nations art,” said Basil. “A lot of First Nations people bead so I think it’s a great idea to bead your own poppy.” 

Remembrance Day is a federal holiday honouring the brave Canadians, both past and present, who have served in the country’s armed forces. The Nicola Valley is home to a number of veterans, including members of the five surrounding First Nations communities. 

“I’ve always supported the Remembrance during the ceremonies each year,” said Basil. “We have a lot of Veterans not just from LNIB, but from the four other surrounding bands. This is a time for us to all come together and support them.” 

The poppy beading sessions will continue on Monday, October 31, and Friday, November 4, at the LNIB Culture Centre.