October 31, 2018 3:49 pm
Updated: November 14, 2018 4:49 pm

Blood Tribe woman heartbroken after custom jingle dresses stolen in Saskatoon

A southern Alberta university student is devastated after her entire collection of jingle dresses was stolen during a recent trip to Saskatoon. Quinn Campbell reports.

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UPDATE: 5 charged after stolen Indigenous jingle dresses recovered by Saskatoon police

Jingle dress dancing is Kalli Eagle Speaker’s biggest passion; she started dancing when she was just three years old.

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“It’s just been a part of my culture, my life and it’s just something I love to do more than anything in the world because it’s an expression to me, it helps me heal, it helps me feel happy,” said Eagle Speaker.

Eagle Speaker and her family are from the Blood Reserve in Alberta and attended a powwow in Saskatoon over the weekend. Eagle Speaker came home early, leaving her suitcase to be brought back with them.

READ MORE: ‘It’s who we are’: FSIN powwow draws thousands to Saskatoon’s SaskTel Centre

On Tuesday, they were headed home but decided to stop eat at a McDonald’s on 22 Street W in Saskatoon. During the quick 20-minute pit stop, someone smashed their truck window and stole their suitcases, along with a Captain America suitcase belonging to Eagle Speaker. All of her most prized possessions were inside the case.

“Seven jingle dresses, two sets of bead work and my brown custom belt. Of the seven, four of them I made myself, two of them my sister made and one was purchased from a family friend,” Eagle Speaker said.

The theft has left the 20-year-old university student at a loss. She spends all of her spare time dancing in her unique dresses.

“They’re a part of me. They are a part of my identity. I powwow eight months out of the year, almost every weekend, and they are so special because they were created for me, by me. It takes hours and hours of cutting and tracing, sewing, creating. There is no two alike in the world.”

Family friends in Saskatoon are helping to check the area where the theft happened, as well as at local pawn shops, hoping the precious items might turn up. A police report was filed and local law enforcement are also assisting, but she said not being there to search for herself is frustrating.

“All I want of everything is just my stuff back, they can take the suitcase, they can take whatever that was in there, I just want my dresses and my bead work back because it’s so invaluable and priceless.”

For now, the young dancer is left to sit on the sidelines and watch, hoping she doesn’t have to start all of her creations from scratch.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Saskatoon police or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

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