By Grace & Cedar Bulltail
A Dress for Kaysera
This cap and gown were made for Kaysera Stops Pretty Places who would have graduated last May. She went missing a few days after her 18th birthday in August of 2019, and her body was found two weeks later. Her aunties, Cedar and Grace Bulltail made her graduation regalia, which now honors her memory and serves to bring awareness to the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Peoples crisis affecting our nation.
“I have always looked forward to beading my children’s, my sister’s children, and other family graduation caps. Losing our Kaysera at the turning of new leaves for many Youth, has been slow healing. Hardin High School and Missoula Hellgate High School both recognized Kaysera with honorary graduation. I am thankful for the time I got to piece this graduation cap together, my lifetime memories with her, and continued prayers.
I collaborated with my daughter Aspen who added her own pieces. Aspen Left Hand, and Kaysera are the same age. I looked forward to our girls’ Senior year celebration and recognizing their accomplishments. I never thought I would be beading Kaysera’s as a memorial cap. A cap robbed for many of our MMIP.
The pastel tulip represents Kaysera and Aspen as the little girls. The multi-colored tulip uses yellow and blue, Kaysera’s favorite colors. The war bonnet on the center of the head is a personal addition to each cap I have had the honor to bead.
As a descendant of Goes Well, sister to Chief Plenty Coups, I value these words ever more so: “Education is your greatest weapon. With education you are the white man’s equal, without education you are his victim and so shall remain all of your lives. Study, learn, help one another always”. – Chief Plenty Coups
More information about Justice for Kaysera can be found online.