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Demonstration will spotlight Native basket weaving
Editor's note: The print version of this story listed incorrect dates for the demonstration.
In connection with the Heritage Museum’s current exhibit, the Heritage Association is sponsoring an event this weekend that focuses on the Puyallup tribe’s art and design.
Traditional Salish Basketry: A Demonstration by Karen Reed-Peter, will run from 1 to 4 p.m. Friday and from 10 a.m. to noon and 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday at the Heritage Museum. It is an extension of the show “Vashon Island’s Native People: Navigating the Seas of Change,” which chronicles life of the Sxwobabc, a band of the Puyallup tribe, through photographs, artifacts and historical accounts. The Sxwobabc lived an advanced and sustainable life on Vashon before the white settlement.
Reed-Peter is of Chinook, Skokomish and Puyuallap descent. She grew up with Native culture and fine craftsmanship being passed down to her in much the same way skills were passed from grandmother to granddaughter throughout generations of the Native people. Reed-Peter learned to weave from her grandmother, Hattie Cross (Skokomish), who lived on Wapto Creek, and Beatrice Black (Quiliuete) of Tahola. Other mentors taught Reed-Peter how to gather and prepare materials indigenous to Western Washington. On one trip to collect cedar bark, Reed-Peter and her mentors pulled bark in 60-foot strips before bundling the material on their backs and singing a collection songs for the trip back down a steep hillside. They harvested the bark in the springtime, when the bark is easier to lift away from the trunk because of the running of the sap.
Reed-Peter’s work is well known and collected by museums and galleries. She gives demonstrations at the Burke Museum during its annual March event, which features Northwest Native artists. For the Vashon exhibit, Reed-Peter wove a replica of the Wapato Creek hat, and for the upcoming event will demonstrate traditional basketry and mat-making.
The museum’s show will be on display until March 15. For more information, see www.vashonhistory.org.