FEBRUARY 9, 2014

CANADIAN DENE ELDER QUILLWORKER SARAH HARDISTY DIED

Born in Jean Marie River, Northwest Territories (NWT), on July 17, 1924, Sarah’s family lived a traditional life—summers in Jean Marie; winters at Fish Lake.  With her husband, she had 12 children and was still raising them when he died in 1961.  To support them, she sewed.  Sarah was sewing at age 9 and could prepare and tan a moosehide by the age 12.  Selling the moccasins and traditional clothing she made, Sarah was considered one of the best sewers in the region with porcupine quill work her specialty.  Her work was included in the 1977 exhibition Contemporary Art of Canada—the Western Subarctic at the Royal Ontario Museum.  In 1988, for the Canadian Museum of Civilization, she crafted a traditional outfit and gloves for their Dene clothing collection.  In 1994, she stitched a porcupine quill territorial crest out of moosehide for presentation to Queen Elizabeth at the Royal Visit.  Her many awards include the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medallion presented at Jean Marie River.   She died at Fort Simpson, NWT.

Sources:  Kevin A. Menicoche, “Kevin A. Menicoche on Condolences On The Passing Of Nahendeh Resident Sarah Hardisty,” OpenNWT, 3/3/2014.  Retrieved 12/15/2019, https://hansard.opennwt.ca/debates/2014/3/3/kevin-a-menicoche-1/only/
 Wikipedia
Photo:  The Dolly J. Fiterman Fund, undated. “Mocassins made by Sara Hardesty,” Minneapolis Institute of Art.  Public Domain.  

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