White Horse Rider

September 30, 2022Brenda Mercer, Founder, White Horse Rider Co.

As far back as Brenda Mercer can remember, seven generations of her family members have been battling with the impacts of the Sixties Scoop. Mercer was also removed from her birth mother at a young age and raised by a non-Indigenous family in Saskatchewan.

Within only the last six years, Mercer, has found the courage to start sharing stories of her past and her healing journey through Indigenous crafting.

“My non-Indigenous cousin first showed me how to bead when I was eight years old,” says Mercer. “There was a moment at the age of 14 that I gave it up but missed the joy it provided and eventually picked it up again at 20. My passion for beading and creating escalated from there.”  

This year marks 50 years of beading for Mercer who creates everything from earrings, bracelets, necklaces, keepsake pouches, rawhide drums and rattles using authentic, Indigenous, and natural products.

“I create my crafts with all my love and good intentions,” says Mercer. “I really like gifting people a piece of my culture and heritage. Sometimes, when I’m out running personal errands or at the grocery store, I will gift pieces of my jewelry to the person standing in line in front of me. Sometimes I get funny looks and sometimes I get tears. It’s so special!”

Mercer says that she just wants to be a bridge and make people feel like they can connect with Indigenous culture and feel empowered to ask questions. Explaining that crafting is a positive and inviting means to spark conversation about healing and reconciliation.

“The community of Medicine Hat is a place where I want to share more. People are so giving, and I want to be able to do the same,” says Mercer. “One of my new ventures is with a close friend called ‘Cultural Stories at the Teepee’. We are inviting people to the teepee who bring their lawn chairs to learn, craft and hear some of our stories. It’s an incredible opportunity to get one-on-one time with individuals in the community.”

“My healing journey is one that might last forever but it is worth it. I am working with a counsellor who has helped me flipped the narrative in my head when I am haunted by stories from my past,” says Mercer. “More and more people are curious and engaged with Indigenous history and I am just so grateful when I get to share my culture, heritage and creations to help and educate others.”

White Horse Rider can be found online at https://www.facebook.com/whitehorseriderco or Esty.

*September 30 is Orange Shirt Day. Orange Shirt Day is a legacy of the St. Joseph Mission (SJM) Residential School (1891-1981) Commemoration Project and Reunion events that took place in Williams Lake, BC, Canada, in May 2013. This project was the vision of Esketemc (Alkali Lake) Chief Fred Robbins, who is a former student himself.  It brought together former students and their families from the Secwepemc, Tsilhqot’in, Southern Dakelh and St’at’imc Nations along with the Cariboo Regional District, the Mayors and municipalities, School Districts and civic organizations in the Cariboo Region. 

The events were designed to commemorate the residential school experience, to witness and honour the healing journey of the survivors and their families, and to commit to the ongoing process of reconciliation. 



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