Culture Camp 2015

Bringing Native Alaskans together in Northern California to practice traditional cultural activities.

Event Summary

Calaska Culture Camp had a remarkable 30 Aleut, Tlingit, and Haida Natives and their families. We started the day off with a talking circle introducing ourselves with our english name, native name, Eagle/Raven and what house we are from. We quickly learned how a lot of us are related through our ancestors.

When finished with the talking circle; the paint brushes, sand paper, planners and deer hide all began to form beautiful finished projects of drums, paddles, devil's club beaded necklaces and drum sticks.

The 10” deer rawhide drums were led by John Hannon and myself. This was the longest station because students have to stretch the rawhide lacing, punch holes in the rawhide with a hammer and awl, lace the rawhide through the holes around the round frame and tighten the lacing while forming a handle. The accomplishment of creating your very own art is very rewarding and calming when listening to your drum after it dries.

For the paddle making it is self taught with samples and someone to answer questions along the way. Devils club was gathered in Craig, Alaska and prepared for drumsticks and beads. Samples and demonstrations were shown at the beginning of camp.

Lunch was provided by the host consisting of a large pot of clam chowder, Smoked and plain packed Alaskan Salmon, Sailor boy hard tack,Soap berries and drinks. Thanks to the many donations of goodies provided by the students we had snacks and dessert. During lunch we watched The Bear Stands Up by Ester Shea of Ketchikan Alaska.

Some students were able to finish their drums and paddles enough to be able to paint designs. This was very rewarding to watch the excitement in the air as the students completed their work of art. The vibrations from the drums and drumsticks became the heartbeat of the hall.

At the end of the day we had a drawing with jars of fish, jams, peaches, to name a few.

A huge Thank You to Jay Silva, Shirley Ann Giannini, Robert and Anne Kennedy, John Hannon, for making this first Culture Camp a success. The hours of planning, preparing and watching it come together made it worth the while.

 -DonnaRae James