People in Profile

Richard Nokohoo

Richard inspires people to dream big for a better tomorrow

Richard Nokohoo started making dreamcatchers to inspire people to dream big.

Richard spent his early years in Fort Chipewyan and later moved to Janvier with his mother, Alma, his late father George Nokohoo, and his siblings.  A Chipewyan Prairie First Nation member, Richard is a proud Cree/Dene family man who considers Janvier home. It’s where he is raising his two sons, George and Chase-Thunder, his daughter Hope, and where he raised his daughter Tauri who now resides in Calgary. Janvier is also where Richard gains inspiration for his art.  Each dreamcatcher he creates is an expression of love and hope for those needing positive energy and encouragement to dream big.

Sharing your dreams and putting them out into the world is healing for our People. Our culture and language were taken away, but our dreams can never be taken away. My art is very spiritual. The colour combinations I use come to me through visions. Every bead I place on the hoop has a prayer for life and represents good things.”

In the early 1990s, Keyano College commissioned Richard to create his first dreamcatcher for their campus. He found a 6-foot hoop outside his parent’s home and began making large-scale dreamcatchers. This was his first commissioned art piece, and since then, Richard has been creating dreamcatchers for charities, businesses, and individuals in the region and across the province.

A very special person involved in Richard’s journey is his cultural brother, Jamie Sturges, owner of Savailin Enterprises. Richard aspired to make big dream catchers that could hold more weight to match his message of dreaming big. To make that a reality, Jamie provided Richard with hoops made of stronger materials. Jamie has since been making all of Richard’s hoops with rebar for his signature 6-foot hoop dreamcatchers.

Most recently, the Cross Cancer Institute in Edmonton, Calgary and Grande Prairie commissioned dreamcatchers for their facilities to inspire hope for patients and their families and provide comfort during difficult times. Some patients are far away from their loved ones, and dreamcatchers can positively affect their quality of life and provide them with some emotional relief.

To dream big in life, people need support with removing negative energy getting in their way. Dreamcatchers catch the negativity and help positive energy come through. To dream means you are alive. When good dreams and thoughts come to you, they create a new vision for your future.”

Richard sees his art as an important part of Truth and Reconciliation. Acknowledging the truth of the past, then taking that strength to inspire change for the future is powerful. One of Richards’s biggest inspirations was his father, who was a residential school survivor.

“My father was a kind, patient, and loving man. He was always present for us. We went hunting and fishing, and he always had the ability to make things happen for us. When I think of my father and his residential school experiences, I think about how my People had their dreams taken away.

"To this day, some of our People are afraid to dream again. I want my legacy to stand for reclaiming our dreams. If you feel you have nothing or feel broken, dreaming and looking to the future gives hope for a better tomorrow.”

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