Posted on Oct 29, 2017

Five years ago, Northern Art Glass welcomed two visitors from Attawapiskat for an intensive 10 day workshop to learn the stained glass process from start to finish. Jackie Hookimaw-Witt and her husband Norbert came with the object of designing and fabricating the first of 6 large windows for St. Francis Xavier Catholic church on the reserve. Each window would feature the designs of native artists. Jackie and Norbert would take their skills back to Attawapiskat to teach others in a community building project and spiritual healing.
This window, fabricated at NAG with lots of helping hands, features a goose in the circle at the top, representing one of six seasons in the Cree calendar. The lower panels illustrate Blessed Kateri, the first native saint beatified by Pope John Paul, and scenes from the early mission in Attawapiskat.

These windows and the workshop were funded by a Truth and Reconciliation grant through the catholic church and, in the spirit of ‘healing’ were installed in the historic St. Francis Xavier Catholic church on the reserve.
Apparently the warm feelings didn’t last. This fall a bitter dispute erupted between the artists and the Bishop over ‘ownership’ of the windows. The financially struggling church may be forced to close it’s doors says the Bishop and/or the windows may have to be removed from the church. So far this conflict has yet to be resolved.

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