For more than eight years, 16 year-old Jayda Delorme has been beading. This Remembrance Day, she is supporting Indigenous veterans by beading poppies.

“My mom actually taught me when she was in university and she was taking beading classes. I just asked and she taught me and it just took off from there,” said Delorme.

“It takes me about two hours for each poppy. Then the edging around it is another 15 minutes, so if I work on it straight, then I can get it done right away.”

So far, she has sold up to 10 poppies and also donated some of her work. She also uses the beaded poppies as way to raise awareness of the history of Indigenous veterans, as many who returned home after the war did not receive the help veterans were promised.

“Indigenous veterans were not treated the same as other veterans. They didn’t get the land they were promised, they didn’t get any money back then. It was really sad,” added Delorme.

Part of the money she makes from the poppies will go towards the Indigenous Veterans Association.

She is also teaching students and staff how to bead poppies once a week at her School of Miller Comprehensive High School.

Delorme’s mother, Chasity Delorme says she is proud of all of her daughter’s work.

“The fact that she wants to help and educate people through making beaded poppies, it means that she’s doing her part in helping teach history. She wants to be home beading and creating rather than being out there and experimenting some of the things our youth are experimenting with,” said Jayda’s mother.

“Jayda’s a really creative student who is really dedicated to her art,” said Jayda’s visual art teacher, Lydell Lang, who teaches at Miller.

Lang has been supporting Jayda with her artwork since she was in Grade 9. He recently helped her begin to develop a future art piece for the principal’s wall in her office. Delorme says she also wants to include the beaded poppies in the art piece.

“I wanted her to experience what it would be like to work from a commissioned point of view, so we met with (the principal), she expressed what she was hoping for. In class she is also very proud to bring her Ziploc bag of her beaded earrings and necklaces. I like when she brings them to class because it allows for conversation, she gets to share a little bit about her culture and it’s amazing to see how many people are drawn to her artwork,” Lang said.

“I’ll be taking my lunch hours and working in the art class and I’m going to try start working in the mornings and get it done. I want to include lots of texture and abstract art and some of my own art,” added Delorme talking about her ideas for the art piece for the principal.

Delorme says when people wear her poppies, she hopes they will also remember the contributions of Indigenous Veterans so that their lives will live on and not be forgotten.

“A lot of people don’t know about these issues and what happened in the past,” she said.