May 11th, 2015 Last Updated on: May 11th, 2015
Interview by Dawn Karima, Native American Culture Editor
With her sense of style and skillful sewing, one Anishinabe designer is turning heads in the powwow arena! Her regalia adorns many of North America's most popular powwow dancers. Yet, even while she develops her House of Chantel designs, Chantel Raynard continues to dance in the circle and follow the Powwow Highway!
DK: Great to visit with you! Please introduce youryselves to us? What would you like us to know about you?
CR: Hello, my name is Chantel Raynard. I am a 23 year old Indigenous woman originally from Little Grand Rapids First Nation. I grew up in a small town outside of Winnipeg Manitoba. I have the privilege of creating the clothes we (Canada’s Aboriginal people) wear when we dance powwow which is called regalia. I created my own powwow regalia fashion line called “House of Chantel” in 2013. I have made regalia for youth and adults through my business and my work contracts.
DK: It's a joy to watch you dance! How did you choose your dance style? How did you start dancing?
CR: I dance fancy shawl and jingle dress mostly but I have also showcased northern traditional and hoop dance. My parents saw the importance of me knowing about my culture as a positive form of self identity. Powwow was something I really enjoyed learning about and I discovered my dancing, instructing and design talent once I began this journey.
DK: What's the most important thing that dancing has taught you? How does dancing influence your life?
CR: I think it teaches me to let go of negativity and trust in spirit. I think it is an important way to bring Indigenous families together. It helps me to introduce non-Aboriginal people to our culture and inspires our people to live a healthy life. It has always had a positive influence in my life as it has allowed me to travel, make friends and to network.
DK: Please tell us about your tribe? What do you think we should know about your people? What are some of your favorite tribal traditions?
CR: I am Anishinabe, also called Ojibwe. I believe we are people who accept those who want to follow our ways when their intentions are positive. One of our traditions is the jingle dress dance. It was given to the White family from Whitefish Bay Ontario to bring healing to our tribe as well as other indigenous tribes.
DK: Your beading is lovely too! How would you encourage someone else to start beading?
CR: I would encourage anyone who wants to learn to go to programs where they offer cultural activities like beading instruction. Offer tobacco to someone who carries that gift when you see them at powwows. Some are also self-taught. In the digital age many tutorials on beading are offered online. There are also groups and pages on Social Media.
DK: Thanks for visiting with us today! Anything else you'd like us to know about you?
CR: For those looking for powwow regalia, I can be contacted by email ([email protected]) and found on Instagram (instagram.com/houseofchantel). Thank you for the opportunity to share!
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