Sunday, September 13, 2009

Wish come true with support from Canada Council for the Arts

Happy to update my creative happenings by publicly thanking Canada Council for the Arts honouring me with an Aboriginal Collaborative Exchange Travel Grant to go home this past June 2009 to harvest cedar bark and learn to weave a traditional Nuu-chah-nulth hat from weaving mentor Geraldine Edgar Tom.

A seven-day whiiiiiiiirlwind trip to Vancouver Island is what I was able to enjoy with support from the Aboriginal Collaborative Exchange Travel Grant. Prior to meeting with weaving mentor Geraldine Edgar Tom to harvest cedar in the Ditidaht territory, I was able to also meet with a number of additional cedar bark weavers. There were National Aboriginal Day Celebrations with BBQ sockeye salmon to greet me and my 10-month old son in Port Alberni in the Nuu-chah-nulth southern region on Vancouver Island. I enjoyed seeing how innovative other cedar bark weavers were in how they worked with weaving in different ways. Weaving ranged from traditional headbands and capes worn as regalia for ceremonial occasions, as well as modern earrings, hairbands, bracelets and embellished picture frames. I was able to learn various techniques and teachings from our common Nuu-chah-nulth ancestry that ranged from very formal discussions of the ceremonial gratitude involved with the harvest to the innovative modern alternatives, like glass or plastic salad bowls used as a mold to weave our traditionally shaped hats. The bowl suggestions came with a warning that people will likely laugh at me as I try the bowl on my head for size.

Uu-shuck-she-clayets-thanks to Geraldine Edgar Tom for her time, teachings and inspiration to be a part of the next generation to preserve the timeless Nuu-chah-nulth weaving techniques. Uu-shuck-she-clayets-thanks to Delores Baine, Maria Seitcher, Alice Sam, Julie Joseph, Katie and Laura Fraser for sharing your inspiring mastery of your weaving craft and encouragement! Uu-shuck-she-clayets-thanks to the ancestral territory of Ditidaht for sharing a part of your rain forest to bring back to Toronto and carry on Nuu-chah-nulth weaving traditions in big city of three-million! Uu-shuck-she-clayets-Thanks again to the Canada Council for the Arts Aboriginal Collaborative Exchange Travel Grant Program for their generous support and continued efforts to assist with the preservation of Indigenous art forms for future generations to enjoy!

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