From last year’s bearing, still very tasty in the early spring. Somewhat dry and pithy, some less than others, but crisp and a little sweet with the expected oil of wintergreen taste. The word is formed from the name of the plant, “k8g8gwibakw” with a connecting “i” to “-men” (berry, fruit) plus “-al” for the inanimate plural. See the earlier post on the plant itself here.
Saturday, February 2, Full Snow Moon Gathering, Great Falls Discovery Center, 2 Avenue A, Turners Falls, MA. “An Island Perspective on Wampum”. 11 a.m. to noon.
Join Aquinnah Wampanoag Researcher and Artist Elizabeth James-Perry of Original Wampum Art for an informative presentation focused on historic wampum arts, including adornment, diplomacy and record keeping from the perspective of a Native woman, which will include a demonstration of wampum weaving. Free. All welcome. Elizabeth will bring a display of her wampum jewelry for sale.
1—3:30 p.m. Traditional Wampum Bead-making workshop follows. Limited to 30 participants. Materials fee $40 per person, cash, on day of workshop. Minimum age, 15. Pre-registration recommended at Nolumbekaproject@gmail.com
Elizabeth James-Perry is enrolled with the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head -Aquinnah, a community located by the richly colored clay cliffs of Noepe (Martha’s Vineyard). She is a contemporary and traditional artist, speaker and exhibit consultant. She continues the work of her many tribal mentors to shore up culture, through museum and archival research in local and international collections. In her creative process, Elizabeth focuses on early Northeastern Woodlands Native American culture, including traditional regalia, diplomacy and ancient wampum design. The artist explores the rich purple hues of the quahog shell in designing jewelry, sculpturing whale and bear effigies; and making fine beads to weave the luxurious drape of collars and belts. She has revived traditional coastal plant dyes, using them to create museum-quality textile arts in milkweed and woven quillwork. Elizabeth’s art has received national recognition; earning awards at the Heard Museum Art Show; as well as the 2014 Traditional Arts Fellowship from the Massachusetts Cultural Council.
Weather concerns? Check www.nolumbekaproject.org for cancellation. Snow date, February 3, 2019.
Co-sponsored by DCR and a grant from the Montague Cultural Council, a local agency supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.
The town held its eighth-annual Abenaki and Indigenous Peoples Honoring Day on Saturday at Lyman Point Park, where an Abenaki canoeing village stood into the 18th century.
The day began early for Nate Pero. By the announced 11 a.m. start time, he had already grilled and cut 16 pounds of bison and moved on to cooking dozens of ears of corn. In years past, Pero got his meat from Vermont game wardens, sometimes coming away with a moose or bear that had been killed by a car or put down. “They haven’t given us any turkey yet,” he said. “I’d cook turkey.”
Pero is chief of the Koasek, an Abenaki band of some 300 members, most of whom live in Windsor and Orange Counties.
In the mid-afternoon hours on Saturday, three days before the official start of spring, 21 friends both old and new sat in a circle inside the council chambers of the Aroostook Band of Micmacs Cultural Community Education Center in Presque Isle.
Tribal Elder Norman Bernard passed a tobacco pipe around to those who did not have their own and began a ceremony of storytelling and sharing of knowledge that has been part of the Micmac Spring Bear Feast for many generations.
“As the pipe goes around, if someone has a story to share with the bear, I encourage you to,” Bernard said, as he began the sharing circle part of the ceremony. “Every story has a lesson and we all have something to teach each other.”
Every spring, the Micmacs hold a daylong Spring Bear Feast to honor the coming of spring and the bear that has come out of hibernation. In their culture, the bear represents a reawakening of life after the often long, cold winter as well as strength and endurance gained from elders who have since passed on and become ancestors. They hold a similar ceremony in the fall to honor the bear going into hibernation.
“For us, it’s a way of celebrating the bear, which is very sacred,” said Bernard Jerome, former Micmac cultural director. Jerome traveled from the Native community of Gesqapegiag in Quebec to attend the Spring Bear Feast.
Last Saturday, about two dozen people gathered in West Barnet to play the traditional Native American winter game of snow snake. The games also coincided with the official opening of the Nulhegan Abenaki Cultural Center.
“This is an ancient Native game,” explained Donald Stevens, chief of the Nulhegan band of the Abenaki nation. “You slide a stick down the track. Whoever goes the farthest wins.”
The games were held in Derby Line for the last three years.
This weekend’s Longhouse Elders Gathering, also known as Midwinter Celebrations, brought Indigenous and non-Indigenous people together to learn about traditional Wabanaki culture.
The ceremony was held at St. Thomas University [Fredericton, New Brunswick] from Feb. 9 to 11.
Typically in Indigenous culture, the midwinter gathering lasts for a 10-day period and is an opportunity for elders to pass along traditional knowledge and cultural teachings to younger generations.
Miigam’agan, St. Thomas University’s elder in residence, said the ceremony is meant to be a time of reflection.