By Molly Bryant, Puyallup Tribal News
One of the most cherished and ancient traditions of Native American culture is basket weaving. On Oct. 27 and 28, the Puyallup and Nisqually Tribes sponsored the 26th Annual Northwest Native American Basketweavers Association Gathering which showcased this art at the Emerald Queen Casino.
Hundreds of eager educators, students and enthusiasts filled the EQC Event Center that weekend. Tables held placards listing the names of weaving teachers and the prices they were charging for lessons. Attendees also had the opportunity to buy kits that contained all of the necessary supplies for weaving.
Artisans from various Northwest Tribes showcased their distinctive styles and techniques. The gathering allowed weavers of all levels to come together to share their knowledge, techniques and stories. They used cedar, yarn, wool, pine needles and other materials.
“It’s just a good time, a good gathering,” said Teresa Harvey, chairwoman of the Puyallup Tribal NNABA planning committee. “You’re learning something. You see friends you may not have seen. It’s just a good healing atmosphere. We believe that when we work with cedar it’s healing.”
Master Weavers Karen Reed and Sharron Nelson were honored with blankets at the event. Their years of dedication to the art form have contributed to the continuation of the cultural practice today. They exhibited their extensive work at the entrance of the EQC Event Center for all to admire.
“Both of them have been wonderful teachers to me,” said Peggy McCloud, another member of the NNABA planning committee. “Karen always opened her heart to me to help me teach how to gather and how to make a basket. So, I’m real thankful for that.” The event featured a wide array of workshops, including a free youth track set up on the other side of the casino. More than 300 youth signed up to learn how to weave.
“It was a primary goal at the beginning of NNABA that they always are teaching the youth,” said Connie McCloud, Heritage Division manager and member of the Puyallup Tribal NNABA Planning Committee.
NNABA President of the Board of Directors Bud Lane, a member of the Confederated Tribes of Siletz, said this is likely the largest gathering he has seen with over 500 people registered.
“The event has gone fantastic,” Lane said. “The Puyallups have done such a wonderful job and have been so helpful. Lots of times, different Tribes help us at different levels. Puyallup has gone out of their way, supplied us with a committee to work with, with volunteers, with a banquet, with this beautiful new facility.”
Attendees had the opportunity to participate in a raffle and silent auction to win cedar paddles, dolls dressed in Native-inspired clothing, jewelry, original artwork and more. They could also buy the wares of vendors who had set up booths outside of the event center to sell their stunning creations: prints, jewelry, baskets and more.
Chris Briden and David Sway-La Duenas emceed the event, announcing and congratulating weavers each time they completed a weaving project. “Being the emcee has been so much fun,” Briden said I was a little nervous because I hadn’t been to one of these before, but the positive vibes here have made it an absolute blast.”
The Puyallup Tribe’s NNABA Planning Committee would like to thank…
- Teresa Harvey
- Connie McCloud
- Peggy McCloud
- Angie Totus
- Celia Olea
- Charlene Delacruz
- Irene McCloud
- Katie Manzanares
- Patricia Conway
- Chris Briden
- David Sway-la Duenas
All of the many volunteers, including:
- Puyallup Tribe Culture Department
- Grandview Early Learning Center Staff
- Don Coats
- Gail Hernandez
- Jose Landrie
- Roslyn McCloud
- Tiauna Bill
- Wynonna Toeaina
- Puyallup Tribe Culture
- Puyallup Tribe Children’s Services
- Puyallup Tribe Council
- Puyallup Tribe Enrollment
- Puyallup Tribe Health Authority- Dental
- Puyallup Tribe Health Authority- Kwawachee Counseling Center
- Puyallup Tribe Language
- Puyallup Tribe Per-Capita
Special thanks to the Nisqually Indian Tribe for the generous donation to help with the cost of the banquet. We are very thankful for their support.