|Juniper bark vessels|
There was a Taiko drummer (Japanese). The music was rhythmic. She played with fat sticks that she beat on the stretched top of a barrel shaped drum. The different sounds were made by the musician also striking the sticks against the edge and sides of the drum barrel in different places.
A group of youngsters played fiddle music. They were led by a man I would say was in is 80's. He is passing along the art of fiddling to a new generation.
I chatted with my horse trimmer/shoer who is also a silver smith. His work was on display.
Murph braids mecates, get downs, shu-flies, and cinches with horse hair. He's been around a while and does nice work. He said it's a lost art because many people now think a neoprene cinch is gentler on the horse when in fact it causes more problems. Hair from the mane is used to make the cinches.
|arrow head made by Cecil|
There was a father son duo, Cecil and Emory Coons who are proficient in the art of flintknapping or better known as arrow head chipping. It was interesting talking with them. The father preferred to use the original antler tools to make the arrowheads and the son used a short, fat stick with a copper end. They both had beautiful work, but I think the original antler tool made the arrow heads look more authentic. Cecil said he's fooled a few archeologists with his arrow heads. He travels clear to Canada giving talks and presentations on the art of flintknapping.
|different types of rocks they use in flintknapping|
Emory works on making art with his flintknapping. They had the various types of obsidian they use for making arrow heads and jewelry. I learned something about flintknapping I didn't know. Emory showed me the grain in the different rocks they had on display. He said you have to chip away at the rock in the direction the grain goes to get the shiny appearance you see in obsidian arrow heads. Visiting with them was fascinating. No doubt a bit of this will come up in a book down the road.
|The long curved obsidian blade is a replica of one Emory made for the movie Riddick|
old. The tradition of making cradleboards was passed down by her parents and grandparents. To start the process for making the cradleboard she is given or purchases a hide. The hide is soaked in water for several days. She removes the hair with a draw knife. Rinses the hide and soaks it again, only this time in cow brain for two to three days. This is the process that softens the hide. The next step is wringing out the hide. It is white in color. The hide is then smoked, keeping a close eye on the hide so it doesn't burn. This process gives the hide a warm yellow tone. She gathers willow of uniform size for the bones of the cradle board. After gathering she strips the bark from the willow. When the hide is properly tanned and the willow is cut to size she begins building the cradleboard. When the board is finished she adds a decoration of colorful bead work. While her cradleboards look like collector pieces, they are used on the reservation for newborns.
|Sara weaving a hood on a cradleboard|
I'm teasing you with some of her work. You can see more and learn about the process of gathering willow and preparing it to make baskets and weave on cradleboards in a blog I'm writing for Sweethearts of the West blog. My post will be up April 24th.
It was a wonderful time spent with Tradition Keepers. May they pass on these traditions to young people and keep the traditions alive!