Wearable art by a Métis designer from Saskatchewan. spotted during indigenous talks with the pope in Rome

A Métis-Ukrainian visual artist from Saskatchewan is delighted to see photos of her wearable art – a dark periwinkle blue cape decorated with flowers and leaves – worn by a member of the Métis delegation involved in talks with the Pope in Rome this week

Melanie Monique Rose of Regina said the Métis Nation-Saskatchewan commissioned the piece as a retirement gift from Louise Simard, the former chief executive of her government.

Simard told Rose last year she intended to wear it in Rome when Indigenous delegations from Canada demanded a papal apology for church-run residential schools. This trip was postponed to December 2021 due to the increase in COVID-19 cases, then rescheduled to March.

Since then, Rose had forgotten about him until she saw photos of Simard wrapped in the woolen cape adorned with vines and colorful stylized flowers created with barbed needles in a technique called felting.

“Louise Simard is definitely a matriarch that I would look up to,” Rose said.

“His decision, ‘Okay, I’ll get my [time] in front of the pope and that’s what I’m going to wear’, it’s moving”.

The cape is called Solstice Star Bird but she calls it her flower child, as she does for other artwork.

Métis visual artist Melanie Monique Rose, right, poses next to Brandy Royale modeling the Solstice Star Bird cape commissioned for Louise Simard. (Submitted by Melanie Monique Rose)

She said the needle felting process is very slow and meditative and she often spends her time listening to stories. Rose said the loving and healing energy she experiences during the process is sewn into her artwork.

Rose’s artwork draws from her mixed-race Ukrainian upbringing, including felting woolen blankets.

She said she was honored when the MN-S commissioned the piece.

“It’s really amazing to have this community supporting me,” Rose said.

Solstice Star Bird’s raised flowers and vines were created using barbed needles, a technique called felting. (Submitted by Melanie Monique Rose)

In an emailed statement, an MN-S spokesperson said, “It is an important part of the visit for the Pope to understand the complexity and history of Métis culture, and the cape of Melanie Monique Rose. worn by Louise Simard is an expression of this. .”

Simard was sent to the Vatican as one of eight members of the Métis National Council delegation.

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Pope Francis met with a delegation of Métis residential school survivors on Monday and heard their stories. Métis National Council President Cassidy Caron was there, telling Matt Galloway what happened. 19:37

Pope Francis listened Monday to three mixed-race survivors of boarding schools at the Vatican.

“Our survivors did an incredible job at this meeting of standing up and speaking their truths. They were so brave and we wanted to make sure we had their voices heard, and that’s exactly what we did today,” said the Métis National Council. President Cassidy Caron.

The pope did not apologize for the abuse Indigenous children suffered in government-funded Catholic schools, Caron said, but spoke of “truth, justice and healing.”