One-needle applique, single stitching, and wrapped edging. This is beadwork taken from a black and white photo of my grandmother as a child. My grandmother raised me. Choctaw is her first language. The hymnal is an edition of the hymnal she would have held as a child. These hymns survived the Trail of Tears. These hymns made their way from our Mississippi homelands to Oklahoma. It was the darkest time of the Choctaw Nation, to date. Grandma died last August from complications due to Covid.
Her passing signified the death of the last fluent Choctaw language speaker for my family. The back cover is a beaded crepe myrtle tree. My grandmother's favorite tree. It is formed into an "E". The "E" is for Elsie.
Materials: Image on brain-tanned, smoked deer buckskin. Both sides of the book have 15/0 cut, glass, matte, and 24 kt gold seed beads. Spine of the book has four shells. The book is antique. It is a second edition Choctaw hymnal from 1924.