Traditional Handmade Drums
According to Pueblo de Cochiti tribal member Ramus Suina who nominated him, “Mr. Herrera’s knowledge and expertise in drum making is being sought after by many native people as well as the public who want to learn more about the trade, the history, the holistic approach and the meaning of traditional Pueblo arts that he instructs with such altruism.”
Arnold is a second generation drum maker who uses Aspen wood and handmade tools for shaping. He is an enrolled member of Cochiti Pueblo, a Keresan-speaking village located on the Rio Grande in the north central part of New Mexico. Arnold believes that the drum is the “Heartbeat of Mother Earth, highly respected and revered for that reason. He says “if one believes in the spiritual nature of the drum, then the miracle and the prayers are heard.” For the past ten years Arnold has been holding workshops which include storytelling, drumming and singing, and his is recognized for his positive impact on others. He states, “In our Pueblo world, the need to learn and teach our youth becomes greater as the Creator calls our elders home to paradise. I will continue the path of sharing”.
Traditional Regalia/Dance/Songs/Language Teacher
Donna McDonald, Director, Walker River Community Coalition, said of Patricia, “She has demonstrated outstanding leadership skills and exemplifies the qualities of an elder. We are more than proud to have her in our community and coalition.”
Patricia Hicks recently returned to her birthplace on the Walker River Paiute Indian Reservation to be the song and dance leader for the Eagle Wings Dance groups from the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony, Pyramid Lake, Fallon and Walker River reservations. Patricia claims, “It’s all about the enjoyment of song, dance and sharing with everyone — including the non-Indian — for a better understanding and appreciation of our people.” Since 1970, she has been teaching traditional songs and dances of the tribes but also, making traditional regalia outfits used in the dancing of the Paiute, Shoshone and Washo tribes. Among the dances she teaches are the antelope, bear, swan, and eagle. They are all unique to the Great Basin area and are rarely seen.
Textiles; Weaving, Cedar/Spruce Root Basketry, Leather, Beadwork
“Lani has demonstrated her commitment to our tribal community by being one of our greatest supporters and nurturers of our traditional knowledge and values.” - Kimberley Strong, Chilkat Indian Village President.
Lani considers herself a textile artist who works primarily as a weaver in the Pacific Northwest coast style that is Chilkat, Ravenstail and contemporary interpretations of those methods. She is also a basketmaker and uses materials such as cedar and spruce root. In her Southeast Alaska village of Klukwan, the population is less than 100 and more than 85% are native. There, Lani teaches classes in woolen weaving and felt appliqué. She says that: “By teaching these art forms, I am passing on the knowledge and skills I’ve learned. Students who learn these skills are then able to create their own dance regalia and hence, my teaching serves to strengthen the traditions of song and dance as well.”
Eastern Band of Cherokees
“We are strongest when our culture is being practiced, and it is the dedicated few like Lucille who work so hard to ensure that our traditions will be preserved. Ms. Lossiah not only helped me learn to make baskets but she also helped teach me to be proud of myself, my work, and my Cherokee culture.” - Tonya Carroll, Outreach Worker at Qualla Arts & Crafts Mutual.
Not only is Lucille Lossiah one of her tribe’s most skilled basket weavers, she is also carrying on a very important tradition by teaching young people the art form and the importance of keeping it alive. Lucille makes one of the oldest styles of Cherokee baskets by stripping her own cane and using natural, homemade, dyes. She is a master at her craft and can work with all traditional Cherokee materials and dyes. Lucille has taught many classes to different skill and age levels for the past ten years, dedicating her time to ensure that her precious knowledge is passed on to other tribal members. She says, “Basketry is a form of therapy that also connects the people with their culture.”
According to Pamela Iron, Executive Director, National Indian Women’s Health Resource Center, Inc., “Dana is a valuable asset to both the Cherokee and the Muscogee Creek communities. She selflessly donates her time as well as her art to help her community.”
Dana Tiger is a very gifted artist who mentors young Native Americans by exposing them to their native culture. She is the founder of the Legacy Cultural Learning Community in Tahlequah, OK, an organization assisting youth in exploring their talents through workshops and gatherings where native craftsman teach youth skills such as pottery, basketry and bow making. Dana says, “I paint the strong heart of women who care for their families and who have the courage to speak up for the land they live on. I see them and paint that determination.” Her future plans are to build a “Creative Spirit House” in Park Hill, OK. It will be used for art performance, teaching and student exhibit space to display youth art by students at Bacone College as well as youth from the Muscogee Indian Community and Sequoyah School.
According to Beth Bashara of the Oneida nation Arts Program, “Loretta’s generosity in sharing her talents and time is well respected and admired by many in Oneida. She is known for her wisdom and commitment to the community.” Loretta is a member of the Oneida Tribe and is co-owner of Bear Paw Keepsakes along with her husband Stan. She resides on the Oneida Reservation Community near Green Bay, Wisconsin. Loretta has been beading for fifty years with current concentrations in Iroquois Raised Bead Work using designs symbolizing Iroquoian culture. Raised beadwork is an integral part of the cultural history of the Oneida people and plays a strong role in defining them as Haudenosaunee Longhouse people. Loretta states, “Each time I bead an image, it reminds me to be thankful for what we have.” Loretta believes that art generates positive strength in the community rather than the negative of conflict.