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University of Mary grad gets international attention for mask making

Jarvey is a fourth generation bead worker and sewer.
After seeing the impact of coronavirus on the Native American community, Jarvey wanted to step up.
After seeing the impact of coronavirus on the Native American community, Jarvey wanted to step up.(KFYR-TV)
Published: Jul. 24, 2020 at 6:24 AM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) -

Rebekah Jarvey, a U-Mary graduate and HR generalist for the Chippewa Cree tribe in Rocky Boy, Montana has made over 700 masks with her family since the start of the pandemic.

She's donated them to people in her community, as well as various military bases, but one mask she's made in particular is gaining international attention.

Jarvey is a fourth generation bead worker and sewer.

“My mom taught me, and I’ve been beading since the age of five years old,” Jarvey said.

She’s wanted to pour her whole self into a project for quite some time.

“I had always sewed and beaded, but I never put my time into it,” Jarvey said.

With the extra time spent at home during the pandemic and some help from her son, she made the “Night and Day” mask.

“During quarantine when everything was shut down and I had nowhere to go, I did what I knew how to do and that was sewing and beading,” she said.

After seeing the impact of coronavirus on the Native American community, Jarvey wanted to step up.

“When the COVID, the virus, gets to our reservations, it just hits our people so hard. So, I just encourage everybody to wear their masks,” she said.

This mask is meant for more than following the state of Montana's mask mandate. Each side has meaning.

“Right now, this time of uncertainty that we’re living in, that’s what the night represents,” Jarvey said.

As for the lighter side of the mask, “When we wake up, it’s a new day. We get a new day and a new start,” she said.

After Jarvey posted the mask to social media and a Facebook group called “Social Distance Powwow,” response was global.

“I heard from people in Russia, Japan, Germany, New Zealand, and South America,” she said.

Jarvey says she's glad she can help people stay safe during COVID-19.

“People that reached out, they said with the masks that I make it would help them feel comfortable to wear it in public,” she said.

Celebrating her culture and sharing a message of hope, one stitch at a time.

The feedback Jarvey has received has been so great, she’s launching a website to make it easier to fill orders for her masks and other work. The site launches on Saturday, and you can find it at rebekahjarvey.com

Copyright 2020 KFYR. All rights reserved.

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