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Jennah Martens-Forrester: BannockBurrito

Jennah Martens-Forrester

Jennah Martens-Forrester

I am a Cree, Saulteaux, and Tarahumara woman born in Mohkinstsis but raised on the Splatsin Enderby Reserve while my mother attended University. My family on my grandmother's side were horse traders from Treaty 4 near Maple Creek and the Cypress Hills. My Tarahumara family came to Canada from Chihuahua Mexico, where they were teachers and knowledge keepers.

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I learned to bead from the Elders at the Women's Healing Lodge in my community as a way to help with my mental health and stay connected to my culture while living in a large city. I was taught how to make dreamcatchers by my mother and my aunt when I was young, as I used to sleepwalk and wake up in strange places. They taught me the story of Spider Woman and how she cared for the land, children, and people of turtle Island. Leatherwork I learned from my mother and the craftsmen I grew up around in BC. They taught me how to skin, prepare, and tan hides, and how to cut and stitch leather. My mom also taught me how to thank the animals and the land, and how to ask for what I needed. I learned to make drums as a way to heal from some of the trauma I have experienced throughout my life, and as a way to deal with the depression and anxiety that I deal with every day. Making drums helps me to connect with the earth and my ancestors in a way that almost nothing else does. When I finish a drum I feel like a piece of myself has been set free to connect with the Great Spirit, and I love the sense of peace it gives me. I pray for all of my drums and for the specific people they are being made for when I am building them, and each one is completely unique. The voice of a drum is the sound of my heart and I hope to make them forever.

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