“Cultural Heritage Necklace”

Through this exercise, participants create an artistic necklace which reflects the special values, experiences and cultural treasures of their past, present and future. First, participants think of two generations in the past to their own grandparents. They discuss and write about the special values, experiences and stories of their grandparents, then choose a bead or two that reminds them of these experiences. They list the
important events that they want to remember about their grandparents and stories that they want to pass down to their children. They then think about the same experiences with their parents, and choose a bead or two reflecting the stories their parents told them.

The third set of beads represents the present life of the participants; the stories, experiences and values that are most sacred to them. The same process continues for their own children. Parents discuss what values, experiences and stories are most important to pass down to their children’s’ generation, and then again to their children’s’ children’s’ generation.

After they have chosen beads representing the past, present and future, they combine the chosen beads with other artistic charms and trinkets, and shape their own “Heritage Necklace.” As they carry on with their daily life, they remind themselves of these special values and stories by rubbing the beads.

To celebrate the creation of these necklaces, each participant stands before the group and shares the stories enshrined in each particular bead. Participants create a community celebration by bringing all their families together to share their stories and discuss the special values and experiences shared throughout the community. These shared values and experiences create a lasting bond amongst participants and community members, creating a strong foundation with which to create future community projects together.