Georgina Metzler: In the artist’s words 

Title of the artwork: Gwayakotam 

Boozhoo! Georgina ndizhinikaaz, Makwa nidoodem, Anishinaabwe niin, Animikii-Wajiw doonjii, Mohkinstsis nindaa. 

This piece was designed for the Public Service Alliance of Canada to accompany the statement for the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. 

The star quilt is a sacred item among many First Nations peoples, which represents honour and respect. The quilts were created as a replacement to hides, such as buffalo, which were hunted to near extinction. The star was chosen to represent the morning star, the star that greets the new day. The star of birth, change and transition. The blankets are used for new birth ceremonies and to wrap our dead for their next journey. It is believed that when you are wrapped in a star quilt, your ancestors are with you. 

Each star quilt is unique and every component has meaning. The colours in this design, for example, all represent a specific part of our story. 

  • Light orange for the sun that gives us warmth and light. 
  • Dark orange for Phyllis Webstad’s shirt that was stolen on her first day at a residential school. 
  • Red for the Indigenous blood that has been, and continues to be, spilled. 
  • Blue for our sky and oceans that are at risk due to climate change. 

The star quilt is being mended, with 14 stitches to represent the 14 Calls to Action that have been fulfilled. But to reach reconciliation, the star must be completely fixed by addressing all 94 Calls to Action.  

The star’s points have two colours representing the possible outcomes of this journey: growth and forward movement (green) or more blood and devastation (red). 

The large orange borders draw similarities to the Canadian flag because until this tear is mended, we cannot be a nation of equals and move forward together as friends. 

About the artist: 

Georgina Metzler is an Anishinaabe artist and graphic designer who lives in Calgary, Alberta. She works as a communications marketing officer for Service Canada in the Strategic Services Branch and has been a PSAC-CEIU member for one year.  

Georgina has hope that reconciliation can happen, but only once unvarnished truths are heard, accepted and understood. It will be through that understanding that we can move forward.  

Visit Georgina’s website for more of her work. 

September 29, 2021