Ddhälh kït Nelnah, Teresa Vander Meer-Chassé is an Upper Tanana artist and curator from Whitehorse and a member of the White River First Nation of Beaver Creek, Yukon. Teresa is two-time Emerging Artist Scholarship recipient and for her 2019 award she mentored under her grandmother.
Installation view of Stsoo Wueek, 2020
Stsoo Wueek (detail), 2020
Stroud, seed beads, 24k gold seed beads, galvanized gold seed beads, short bulge beads, nylon thread
23” h x 31” w (when laying flat) 23” h x 48" circumference (on display)
Stsoo Wueek is a wearable garment meant to be placed over the head. It is entirely hand sewn and beaded.
“Stsǫǫ Wueek means “Grandma’s Shirt” in Upper Tanana, Scottie Creek Dialect. I made this piece for my Grandma Marilyn who is an Upper Tanana Elder living in Beaver Creek, Yukon.
My Grandma was my mentor and guided me while I created this work. We were inspired by an image of her older sister Bessie John wearing dance regalia with her sister Jenny and cousin Mary Tyone. Grandma Marilyn wanted me to create a garment that would echo the photograph of her sisters. I took a few liberties and created a shawl version of the regalia. I also added beadwork with my Grandma’s favourite colours, purple and pink, to the front of the piece. We layered a white stroud over red which is visible through the white fringes.
The back of the piece is a beaded depiction of Scottie Creek from Marilyn Lake, where my Grandma was born down to Tayh Ch’įį, where she lived as a child with her family. Scottie Creek crosses the fictitious international border between Yukon and Alaska. Rather than focusing on the colonial definitions of place, I’ve only represented the waterway as well as old sites and homesteads along the creek. I beaded cabins in 24k gold and the Upper Tanana dome skin tent in 24k gold and galvanized gold beads. My Grandma recalls living in the dome skin tent prior to her family living in a wall tent and later a cabin. Unfortunately, my Grandma is unable to physically return to her birthplace but I hope this wearable art will bring her comfort, joy, and memory of living with her parents and grandparents in the bush.”
– Ddhälh kït Nelnah, Teresa Vander Meer-Chassé