Oromocto First Nation
Brooke Gillam, a 15-year-old artist hailing from Victoria, BC, finds her roots in the small town of Oromocto, New Brunswick, situated along the Wolastoqey River. As a proud member of the Oromocto First Nation community, Brooke is one of eight siblings, living alongside her mother and stepfather.
Brooke's artistic journey is marked by a deep passion for drawing and painting, with additional skills in weaving baskets, beading, and crafting dream catchers—though drawing remains her foremost love. Actively engaged in the cultural fabric of her community, Brooke participates in First Nation drumming at Oromocto High School as part of her Oromocto First Nation class. Since her kindergarten days, she has been immersed in learning about her heritage, delving into cultural nuances, sacred teachings, traditions, and the Wolastoqey language.
Her connection to the language, culture, and traditions is owed to the guidance of influential figures like Brendan Foley, Kim Sark, Charlotte Keenan-Thurber, Chief Shelly Sabattis, and Robin Paul. Brooke's cultural exploration extends to class trips that involve immersive experiences such as sweat lodges, reading Wolastoqey books to elders and younger generations, and communing with nature through walks along the Wolastoqey River.
Additionally, she and her fellow First Nation classmates showcase their talents at schools, donning traditional regalia to share the richness of their culture through dance and song.
Pink Shirt Day Design, 2024
I am a part of the Oromocto First Nation Community in New Brunswick on the east coat of Turtle Island, and have recently reunited with my other side of my family who originates from Victoria, British Columbia on the west coast. I chose the feather design after getting to know my Grandfather from the Shell Beach community
of Stz'uminus First Nation.
I chose a sacred feather because it symbolizes and represents a high honour, wisdom, power and freedom. The three heart inside represents kindness, friendship and love. When I tied the two together it felt right because my heart told me it felt like it was meant to be.