Done by Matt at Good Luck Tattoo.
Santa Cruz, California.
Local aboriginal artist Martha Campiou had her artwork stolen from storage unit
After the death of her son, Campiou, a well-known aboriginal artist and Edmonton resident of 40 years, left the home she shared with him out of grief and moved in with friends for support.
Unable to keep her crafts with her, Campiou moved many of her personal belongings and artwork into a storage locker at Guardian Storage Ltd. at 14350 111 St. to keep them safe until she felt more settled, at least that’s what she thought.
On Sept. 21, while the cameras at the storage facility were out of operation during upgrading, five lockers at the facility were broken into. Of those five lockers, only two had items missing. One reported the loss of CDs and records, while Campiou’s was cleaned out except for an old box spring mattress and an out-of-date sewing machine.
“They took absolutely everything,” said Campiou, adding “I was devastated, I was in shock for about a week, just thinking this can’t be happening, somebody’s played a trick on me.”
Among the missing items were deer skin dresses and a deer skin coat covered in intricate beadwork, as well as beadwork for moccasins, porcelain dolls and jewelry all done in keeping with aboriginal traditions.
Each beaded mukluk takes about one month to make, with larger pieces like coats taking over six months. The theft has set her back years of work and cost her thousands in income.
“This is my livelihood, this is my life,” said Campiou, adding “losing everything that you worked hard over the years for, it’s enough to make you give up.”Active in her community, Campiou shares teachings of her Metis heritage at schools and to community groups, bringing along aboriginal artifacts handed down through family.
These relics, including birch bark baskets and a traditional drum, were also stolen.
“These are irreplaceable,” said Campiou.
Also in the unit were family treasures, photo albums and items collected from her late son’s childhood, items she had hoped to pass on to her grandson who only has a handful of pictures of his father.
“They’re of value to no one else except my family,” said Campiou. “I was keeping a lot of the items for [my grandson] as he grew older.”
Still mourning the loss of her son, the stress of the theft has left Campiou feeling broken and violated, unable to sleep and reluctant to eat.
“I don’t know if I’m praying for strength anymore,” said Campiou, “because maybe if I didn’t have all that strength this wouldn’t happen.”
To make matters worse, as she still struggles to find the emotional strength to deal with her trauma her vehicle was struck from behind in a serious collision last week that damaged her shoulders, back and left side of her collar bone.
“I feel like I have a dark cloud over me, with all of this happening,” Campiou said.
Despite all of the recent hardships she has had to overcome, Campiou is “turning to our way” and is thankful for the support she has received from her family, friends and community.
“I’m grateful for all my friends, and I’m grateful for all my family, and I’m grateful that at least can wake up in the morning and have the willingness to keep going,” Campiou said, “that I have the capacity to take one step at a time and just keep going.”
A fundraiser and silent auction is being held at Ebenezer Hall at 16302 106 Ave on Nov. 12 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Artists are invited to submit their work. For more information, contact organizer Lyle Donald at 780-910-3625.