Susan, also known as “Tweet” practices a variety of cultural arts that have defined her Native peoples since the beginning of time. She is a basket weaver, gatherer and a regalia maker and has taught basket weaving and gathering for over twenty years. A founding member of the California Indian Basket Weavers Association, Susan has devoted her life to the good of the people and to the continuity of their unique tribal culture, which is based on keeping the work in balance for all living things.
“My elders taught me to love, respect and nurture a healthy relationship with our precious homelands. They gifted me a true passion of sharing my knowledge with others. My deep commitment to basket making is woven together with my people’s cultural understanding and spiritual belief system. Weaving empowers the weaver through spiritual and cultural discovery and belonging to a community of people.”
– Susan “Tweet” Burdick
“Susan is a dynamic advocate and cultural mentor in the local Native community. She is passionate about the health of the environment as well as sustaining cultural arts. She truly feels rich in culture and is fulfilled knowing she is doing her part in continuing the traditional arts of our people. Her energy, happiness and personal fulfillment is awesome to be around and motivates me to be more like her.” – Maggie Lee Peters, Nominator
Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan
Birch Bark Canoes
Ronald, an elder of the Sault St. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, is a self-taught artist. He has built 21 full sized traditional burch bark canoes and over 15 models throughout the last 20 years. Ron uses all natural materials, most of which he gathers himself – birch bark cedar bark, red willow, diamond willow, sweetgrass, basswood, and spruce roots. Ron believes passing on his skills and traditional art forms in important as he is one of the last canoe makers of his tribe. As a result of his teaching others, members of his community believe they as well as the tribe and public will continue to heal and grow in understanding one another.
“I marvel at the ingenuity of whoever invented the first canoe, probably by trial and error and out of necessity for survival. Birch bark canoes are no longer used for survival, but understanding their value will help connect our ancestors to our grandchildren in a way that encourages respect for our natural environment, respect for our traditions, and respect for ourselves.”
– Ronald J. Paquin
“Ron is a tribal elder who truly wants to transmit his knowledge to future generations of people. His education is the result of years of listening to the elders he has been influenced by during his lifetime. His mastery of wood and bone carving, quill work, basket making, lodge and birch bark canoe construction, is symbolic of his commitment to his heritage.”– Art Leighton, Nominator
Sadie was born into a long line of traditional singers and dancers. Her life as a traditional singer has honed her training and performance skill to a master level. Sadie has taken her traditional training ideology and transposed that to her contemporary life as an artist, performer, facilitator, director, author, trainer, researcher and consultant. Sadie is the lead singer for the Six Nations Women Singers.
“When we use our bodies and voices to the best of our abilities, we are sovereign. No one can take this from us just as no one can give it to us. Sovereignty is of our minds. When we understand and have the freedom of expression, we are sovereign. When we are sovereign we are well.”
– Sadie Buck
“It is impossible to discern the line between Sadie’s art as an occupation and her art practiced as service to her community. Her art has translated into a traditional way of life from which she draws her boundless inspiration. Through her singing and dancing, Sadie constantly breathes life into traditional song and dance.” - Meisha Kreisberg, Nominator
Akwesasne, New York
Delia, a profound Native artist, whose art form ranges from traditional dress making to traditional basket making, has used to her art to give back to her community and has shown the true identity of generosity. She was born and raised in Akwesasne, NY where she currently resides with her husband. Delia is not only involved in making traditional art but has been committed to a group called “Daughters of Tradition” whose purpose is to educate young girls, on making leather dresses, baskets, and food for ceremonies.
“By bringing back the rites of passage of rites of passage for the young people, I am trying to help our community heal from the past things that have been done and taken away from us. I am using the traditional arts that I do and teach to help people gain confidence and learn to finish what they start. It makes me very proud to see the happy faces of those who work hard and make something beautiful for themselves or for someone else.”
– Delia Cook
“All that Delia does through her art and teachings, she does with her whole heart for the revival of the spirits of our people and to help in the continuation of our way of life. She cares for our community unconditionally as a mother/grandmother, Turtle Clanmother, and teacher as she was taught her whole life – to give back.” – Ellyn J. Chapman, Nominator