Native art practices have been passed down for generations, and this week, some kids in Warm Springs got to reap the rewards.
The Tananawit art nonprofit group’s first annual youth art fair brought color and concentration to the lobby at the Museum at Warm Springs for spring break.
Six local traditional artists came to share their expertise with kids in beading, weaving, making dreamcatchers, making pouches, and more.
“Many call it crafts. But to me, it’s art that we’re passing down, it’s traditional ways that we’re passing down,” said Maria Godines, who first started making leather and buckskin pouches at age 6.
Student Nizhoni Yallup spent time at the beading table on Thursday, painstakingly threading a needle through tiny beads.
“I made my first dream catchers and my first earrings,” she said. “You can make your own design, and you could pick your own colors.”
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Roy Tulee’s father originally taught him to make dreamcatchers when he was a child, and he brought his knowledge to teach at camp this week.
“With us being a cultural community and tribal, we get to teach our kids what we learned, what we use as our skills,” he said. “With our culture, everybody wears earrings, everybody wears necklaces, everybody has a dream catcher.”
The artists’ efforts all start with Tananawit, which supports nearly 40 local artists through a store next to Indian Head Casino.
“Our goal is to support our artists any way we can. That includes the young artists who need to learn the traditional culture, the traditional crafts,” said Executive Director Debra Stacona. “It’s really important for the children to realize where they come from, and what art was available and still available, that they could be a part of.”
Spanning the generations to preserve the arts is an effort they wish to continue.
“It’s important to share any type of knowledge that you have with our younger generations, and even with people that are older so that they can learn,” Godines said. “It’s never too late to learn.”
Tananawit will host another youth art fair at the end of the summer, and they hope to start adult classes around that time as well.
You can visit their website here and their Facebook page here to stay updated on the latest events.