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Native clothing design taught

Cheryl Petten, Sweetgrass Writer, GROUARD

Page 14

A unique program offered by Northern Lakes College's Grouard campus is giving students training and hands-on experience in designing and creating Native clothing.

The 10-month program teaches sewing and clothing design in a Native context.

It includes basic skill development in sewing as well as in pattern drafting and design, along with courses covering a variety of aspects of Native design.

Students in the Native clothing design program will learn about bead work, fish scale art, horse hair stem work, moose and caribou hair tufting and sculpturing and quill work art. Other courses include Native fine arts, Native footwear, traditional Native outfit research, screen printing on fibre, and tipi construction.

The program teaches students about the history and techniques involved in each area, and then they will have an opportunity to put what they've learned into practice through completion of assigned projects. More than half of the class time is dedicated to developing practical skills through project work. By the end of the program, students will have designed and created a complete Native outfit, including footwear and accessories.

Other projects to be completed as part of the course include five projects involving sculpting of dyed caribou hair and moose hair embroidery, five fish scale art projects and four quill work projects, including wrapping, weaving, loom and sewing techniques. Students will also be required to complete two horse hair stem projects, ten bead work projects, eight different sewing projects, moccasins and mukluks, and a 15-foot canvas tipi.

Applicants for the program must be able to demonstrate a working knowledge of the metric system, and be able to calculate percentages and interest. An academic skills appraisal test and a personal interview will also be part of the application process.

Applicants must have completed 30 high school credits, including credits in Math 13 or 24 or higher. Students 20 years of age or older can also qualify for enrollment as a mature student. Students may enroll in the program on either a part-time or full-time basis.

For more information about the Native clothing design program, contact the registrar's office at (780) 849-8604, or e-mail to

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