Beadwork and Healing: Using Beadwork to Heal from Personal Challenges

Beadwork is more than just a craft; it’s a sacred art form that transcends time and culture. For centuries, Indigenous peoples have used beadwork not only as a means of creative expression but also as a pathway to healing. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the therapeutic and decolonial aspects of beadwork, exploring how it can help individuals navigate personal struggles and find solace.

Beading as Medicine

The Energy of Beads

When you pick up a bead, you’re not just handling a tiny piece of material. Beads absorb energy—our intentions, emotions, and thoughts. Each stitch becomes a conduit for our feelings, embedding them into the beadwork. Indigenous wisdom teaches us to bead only when in a positive and calm mindset, ensuring that the energy we infuse into our creations is harmonious.

Restoring Ancestral Practices

Colonization disrupted ancestral practices and severed community connections. Beadwork serves as a bridge—a way to restore and revitalize what was lost. By engaging in beadwork, individuals reclaim their heritage, connecting with their ancestors and traditions. It’s a powerful act of resilience and reclamation.

Beading Circles: Community and Healing

The Beading Circle

Imagine a room filled with people—Indigenous students, staff, faculty, and allies—gathered around a table adorned with beads. This is the Beading Circle, a space where knowledge is shared, stories are told, and community is fostered. In the physical world or online, the Beading Circle provides solace during challenging times.

Healing During the Pandemic

When the pandemic hit, the Beading Circle adapted. It moved online, welcoming community members from across Turtle Island. Prioritizing safety, it became a virtual haven—a place to connect, build kinship, and bead together. As the world grappled with uncertainty, beadwork offered solace, creativity, and a sense of purpose.

Beadwork and Decolonization

Reclaiming Space

Beadwork is inherently decolonial. It defies the erasure of Indigenous knowledge and practices. Through beadwork, individuals reclaim space—both physical and emotional. It’s a quiet rebellion against settler colonialism, asserting that our stories matter and our traditions endure.

Individual and Collective Efforts

As you thread beads, consider the questions: How does beadwork impact you emotionally? How does it restore your relationship to community, identity, and ancestral lands? Beadwork isn’t just about personal healing; it contributes to collective decolonization efforts. Each stitch is a step toward reclaiming sovereignty.

Beadwork is medicine—a thread that weaves through generations, connecting us to our past and guiding us toward healing. Whether you’re a seasoned beader or a novice, know that every bead carries intention, energy, and resilience. As you create, remember that you’re part of a lineage—a lineage of healing, strength, and hope.

Download the full chapter on Beading Is Medicine: Beading as Therapeutic and Decolonial Practice here.

Remember: When you bead, you heal. 🌟🪡🌿 


  1. Mills, P., & Woods, J. (2023). Beading Is Medicine: Beading as Therapeutic and Decolonial Practice. Palgrave Studies in Fashion and the Body1
  2. Healing Beads: The Special Meanings of Gemstones. Interweave2
  3. Learn the Essentials of Beadwork: A Step-by-Step Guide. Roseville Art3
  4. Campbell, T. (2021). I confronted my misconceptions about being Indigenous by embracing beadwork. CBC News4
  5. Lee, Y. G. (2022). Rebekah Stevens finds healing through traditional Indigenous beadwork. The Peak5


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