NIDA Contest Entry

Keeli, Warmsprings, Age 25, Oregon

The way beadwork can ascend an indigenous person is powerful. From the historical nature of cultural preservation to the extra element of style and fashion, beadwork can uplift and bring forth identity and overall expression. Personalized, the concept that no two pieces are alike leaves room for the most versatile form of Indigenous heritage. A handmade artform, a labor of love, and a reflection of the inner workings of each individual. I have had the honor of learning young in making my own accessories to accompany me on the dance floor. I am proud and have built wonderful connections with peers from all walks of life.

I myself had struggles in life and the art of beadwork has kept me grounded, secure, and focused. I know having the ability to inspire others to combat the many trials and tribulations of life. Resilience and beadwork go hand in hand, having a healthy and positive outlet from trauma, helping heal and process. Any lost individual that can take something from my work is a goal met. If I can help alleviate pain, longing, sadness. If I can inspire progress, compassion, love and community in my pieces, then I have accomplished the tradition of resilience.

My friend keeps sharing pics of him with bottles of alcohol and pills.

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