“In telling my stories I help to restore a sense of pride and respect for our young people. I know that people think about what they are being told and therefore are given a new or different way of understanding. Many students compare our oral stories with what is written about the land, the customs, the way of life and they see the power, strength and wisdom in the story’s message and they believe their ‘eyes are opened’”. – Mary Louise Defender Wilson.
“Few storytellers have such a breadth of understanding and such a sense of the integrated nature regarding traditional stories that they can present them within a Dakota cultural context that more accurately unveils a complex, integrated Dakota philosophy; one that lends itself to revealing human ‘Truths’ in answer to much of Human difficulties. The stories teach one how to live. She epitomizes the spirit of community and deserves this honor.” – Troyd Geist, Nominator.
Singer, Composer, Educator
“The songs I write are all written from the heart and I believe are good messages for the people.”
“Her music brings good medicine to our people; her songs are an uplifting and a truly ephemeral experience. It is as if the ancestors are whispering these songs to her to give back to the people. They lift the spirits of all who join in and share their voices, and also those who take them in and listen. Her songs are building a web, between our generation and between our communities. I believe these songs are leaving an imprint that will be carried on for generations to come.” – Delia Cook, Nominator.
“Siletz basketry is not just an art form but also a means of making utilitarian baskets without which our people could not have survived. To see our people making and proudly wearing Ceremonial caps and work caps, carrying our children and grandchildren in our baby baskets, wearing b ark capes and dresses, using traditional mats, and cooking and eating from baskets is to me preserving the very core of our collective Tribal existence.”
“He honors the Creator in many ways: for the beauty surrounding us, for the Siletz People, for the medicine plants and for basketry plants, and for all Life.” – Pat Courtney Gold, Nominator.
Traditional Ash and Sweetgrass Basketry
“I believe the practice of traditional culture, including our basketry, has remarkable healing capability, as we have seen countless examples of this over time.”
“Theresa has truly worked in the interest of community and without her spirit our artists might still be struggling to maintain our traditions. Theresa’s work binds our language, our artistry and our songs in the hearts of our people.” – David Moses Bridges, Nominator.