Artists and Designers

Nihtat Gwich'in FN /

Naomi Bourque



Naomi was born and raised in Yellowknife, NT of Gwich’in and Metis descent and has always been inspired by her cultural heritage and the traditional art and clothing that represents the Indigenous people near and far from where she comes from; that being the Mackenzie Delta of the Northwest Territories. Growing up on Latham Island in Yellowknife surrounded by the water of the Great Slave Lake, and spending childhood summers on the Deh’Cho (Mackenzie River) at her grandparents camp, has gifted to her love and appreciation for the beauty of the wild, and of wide open spaces.

Blending traditional materials with contemporary techniques allows Naomi to pay homage to her cultural heritage, whilst giving her work a distinctive edge. Using materials from harvested animals that could be overlooked, such as antler, horn, bones, teeth, claws, fish skin, etc, she strives to implement the principle to ‘Use Everything’; which aligns with the Indigenous value of using all parts of animals harvested, and thus paying honour to them and their life given.

Naomi completed the Jewellery and Small Object Design Program in 2013 at the Kootenay School of the Arts in Nelson, BC, the Sculptural Metal Program at Kootenay School of the Arts in 2015, and the Textiles Program at Kootenay Arts Studio in 2023. She currently resides in Nelson, BC.

Latest Collection

Medicine Harvest

A Collection by:

Naomi Bourque

This collection of Ponchos are the imaginings of what one might wear while harvesting traditional medicines, particularly those used by the Gwich’in people of the far north, Naomi’s First Nation. Naomi designed this traditional garment with her knowledge of indigenous horticulture, to allow hands-free movement whilst harvesting and gathering from the land. 

Each poncho has specific functional qualities to assist in the collecting and transportation of traditional medicines. Naomi has integrated elements into each poncho, such as three bison horn rings in the ‘Willow’ poncho. Attached by strands of home tanned moose hide, the hide binds around the willow bundles for ease of carrying. As a trained silversmith, Naomi also incorporates traditional materials with contemporary techniques.

This collection was a grounding experience for Naomi, opening the way to reconnect artist to land.