Colville Confederated Tribes
For twenty years, Elaine has taught plateau style basketry classes and language to tribal members on the Colville Indian Reservation. She connects weavers with their ancestral ties by taking them to ancestral gathering sites and following ceremonial practices involved with collecting the materials. She believes that a basket weaver must be a botanist, environmentalist, ecologist and marketer combined. "I have always believed that in order to have self esteem, my people must relearn the arts, language and culture of our ancestors. The reason I committed myself to teach basketry was to prove that as a people, we are still here and basket weaving is not a dead art - a victim of forced assimilation."
Elaine’s project includes travels for herself and 5 others to collect basketry materials. The purpose of these gatherings is to teach, promote and perpetuate northwest basketry. Elaine is part of the Northwest Native American Basket Weaver’s Association, which is made up of over 600 tribal basket weavers from across Washington State.
Karuk/Yurok/member of Hoopa Valley Tribe
Kathy Wallace has been making traditional Karuk, Yurok and Hupa baskets for twenty-five years. Nearly a decade ago, Kathy sold her thriving commercial business to devote her life full-time to weaving. As one of the founding 'mothers' of the California Basetweavers Association, Kathy is working to revive basket weaving among California tribes, as well as protect the practice f the art itself. She is helping to accomplish this through instructional workshops on Northern California Native culture and basketry.
As a practicing artist, Kathy harvests the native plant materials for her work utilizing ancestral knowledge that has been passed down to her. It is this ritualized practice that deives her efforts to educate lawmakers and state and federal agencies on the hazards of pesticide spraying in the traditional gathering areas located in the forests and wetlands of Northern California. She also works to ensure that controlled burns are conducted in certain areas to ensure on-going plant regeneration. Kathy's vision for the future is to one day see all people practicing at least one art form that ties them in some way to the earth around them. "It is impossible to separate the art from the ceremony, the environment, and the history of my people."
Kathy project includes making cooking baskets for use in their traditional tribal ceremonies. Cooking baskets take an enormous amount of material. The grant money will go to use in travel for 4 gathering and weaving trips this year.
Wasco - Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, OR
Pat Courtney Gold is a fiber artist known for her twined Wasco basketry. She uses cattail leaves, tule, dogbane fiber, cedar bark and tree roots for her traditional baskets and cotton, chenille, dyed wool, and other textured materials on her contemporary baskets.
Ms. Courtney Gold is known for being one of four people who helped revive the Wasco art of full-turn twine with the geometric images and motifs. Today she is the only tribal member who carries on the legacy. She has conducted extensive research (at museums and through visiting with elders) on the use of traditional plants in basketry and design. Today very few elders carry the knowledge of plant fibers used by their ancestors, thus making it important for Ms. Courtney Gold to share her knowledge with other Plateau weavers and Native basket weaver associations.
Ms. Courtney Gold teaches classes throughout the Northwest, nationally and on the Warm Springs Reservation where she is from. She teaches her students the importance of becoming stewards of the land by taking them pm field trips to identify and protect wetland plants and their habitats and teaches them how to properly harvest and process the plants.
Pat values the living testament of the Elder Basketweavers in the Pacific North West. She plans to video-record this knowledge that they hold. Pat feels this will not only help her expand her knowledge and skills of basketry, but will also benefit others to have her then as a resource.
Music is her first language and a long ongoing family tradition. Pura Fe can count four generations of seven singing sisters through her maternal line. Known nationally for her pure vocals with the women's drum group Ulali, Pura Fe says her music, art and deep love her her people carried her home to be more involved with the Tuscarora youth in North Carolina. Moving home to support and reinforce the traditional roles of women in our society through intergenerational gatherings, she has unyielding dedication to the restoration of cultural traditions in Eastern North Carolina. Pura Fe has also inspired and overseen indigenous theatre troupes, drum groups, singing circles and cultural art projects throughout the U.S. and Canada.
Pura Fe’s immediate project is to finish her Native Blues CD; this is an acoustic recording. She has been recording under a small nonprofit label called “Music Makers”. Pura Fe will complete the CD and prepare for distribution.
Rose lives on the reservation of the Oneida Nation located near Green Bay, Wisconsin. She is a traditional potter who also creates contemporary pottery with Iroquois design elements. Rose has been working to revive the pottery tradition in her community by teaching pottery classes to students of all ages for the past twenty years. She has even taken colleges students into her home and has mentored them in their pottery making. Rose is working to incorporate more art into her community through the display of paintings, sculptures, pottery, photography, etc. in tribal administration buildings, the schools, the health center and other public places. She is also working on a book about contemporary Iroquois potters.
As a well-respected elder and valuable cultural resource, Rose envisions a day when art becomes a part of everyone's daily life. She believes that art is universal and is therefore, a good starting point to establish understanding between different cultures, generations, and members within the same community. "By sharing parts of our culture with others, whether they are within or outside our own community, we not only strengthen our local community, but also the larger, global community."
Rose is completing a book on Iroquois Pottery that will include a brief history of pottery making in her homeland of NY State, as well as the a look at the contemporary work of 34 Iroquois potters. Rose plans to complete this book, with a high level of photography of the artwork to be included. Rose would like to hire a coordinator for the arrangements of her project.