June Wallace, of the Southside Deer Clan, has not missed a single Greencorn since her birth. Which is why the cancellation of the ceremony in 2020 due to the pandemic was all the more challenging. Luckily, she had beading. 

Ms. Wallace was taught the basics of beadwork by her mother, Hazel, who was a Pothanger that took great pride in her cultural heritage. A pride that ran so deep she served as Pothanger until her passing at the age of 87. A pride she instilled in her daughter, evident to anyone lucky enough to talk with June, or see her beadwork. 

When asked how often she beads, Ms. Wallace responded, “How many days in the week are there?” a clever reply indicative of her wit and jovial spirit. Although she did clarify that she does take breaks on Sundays to go to church, but often picks the beads back up in the afternoon. 

Her beadwork easily captures the eye—a colorful array of patterns and meaningful symbols that gives you an appreciation for her attention to detail. Her mother, too, was a perfectionist in anything she did, something Ms. Wallace thinks about when tackling a new pattern. If there’s a mistake, “I can hear my mom say ‘Juney, take that out and do it right,’ so I take it out and get it right.” 

Ms. Wallace’s passion for beadwork and her cultural heritage also stems from a desire to keep traditions alive. She wants to see not just her Tribe, but all Tribes unite and preserve a shared cultural identity. Which is why she hopes to attend the Gathering of Nations one day with her two grandsons.    

Much of her beadwork goes to family members, mainly her many nieces and nephews. Her work has included bracelets, headbands, lanyards, canes, earrings, and Warrior Sticks among other things. She even recently beaded some shovels for the Tribe to be used during groundbreaking ceremonies.  

And with that, we’d like to thank June for gifting us with her incredible beadwork, and for being an outstanding member of our community. The Seneca-Cayuga Nation is better off for having you in it. We’ll see you at Greencorn.