"For all of us, becoming indigenous to a place means living as if your children's future mattered, to take care of the land as if our lives, both material and spiritual, depended on it." - Robin Wall Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass
Lisa Telford: Haida Basketry
While at the Hibulb Cultural Center, I came across this beautiful Lisa Telford woven basket necklace. The detail and beauty of this piece really spoke to me. It reminded me of the woven kete we have in New Zealand. I was told that small baskets like this could be used to carry prayers and wishes of the wearer.
"As a Gawa Git’ans Git’anee Haida weaver she comes from a long line of weavers including her grandmother, mother, aunt, cousins and daughter. Lisa harvests and prepares her own material, using red and yellow cedar bark and spruce root. The gathering of materials takes her hundreds of miles from home and hours of preparation that vary depending on the final product. Bark is traditionally stored for one year and then must be processed further. Her baskets may be seen in the collections of The Oregon Historical Society, Hallie Ford Museum of Art, The Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, The Heard Museum, The Portland Art Museum, and The Burke Museum."
Kohatu Ataahua: Ralph Hamon
On our last trip to New Zealand, we went to visit my Mom's cousins, Memory and Ralph Hamon in Rotorua. Uncle Ralph is a talented carver who works with both bone and pounamu (Maori Greenstone or Jade). It was our first time meeting them, but Uncle and Aunty were so gracious to us and gifted us each a beautiful taonga.
My piece is a beautiful, pounamu piece with red coloring at the bottom and a fern koru carved into it. The red in the jade gets brighter in the sunlight and is said to be the blood of our Maori people inside the stone. Ronan's piece is a small pounamu pendant with three koru's or fern leaves carved into it to represent me, my husband, and Ronan. It was carved by my nephew Dion, Uncle Ralph's grandson. Last, Greg's piece is the powerful solid Koru (Spiral) carved from whale bone.
Uncle walked over to his whale bone section, very rare and very special, and grabbed the Koru and placed it on Greg's neck and said, "This one is for you!"
We also purchased a beautiful Whale Tale Pounamu pendant because it reminded us of Paikea, and my Ngati Porou ancestry.
His work is amazing and we are so honored to wear his pieces all the time.
We love you Uncle Ralph and Aunty Memory!
"Local Artist from Rotorua shares his impressive craftsmanship through one & many of natures beautiful stones, featured next is New Zealand Greenstone "Pounamu" the traditional Tiki.
Ralph comes from a family not short of many talents in the creative arts area and his shop is located at the well known Village of "Whakarewarewa" where you may even catch him in action sculpting his next master piece."
There once lived in Hawaiki a chief called Uenuku, who had seventy-one sons. Seventy of these sons were chiefs, for their mothers were of noble birth. But Uenuku had one wife who was a slave, and because of this, her son Ruatapu was of no importance.
One day Uenuku decided to build a great canoe. A tall tree was felled, and for a long time his men worked at hollowing and smoothing and carving it. When it was finished it was painted red and hung with strings of feathers.
Then Uenuku brought together all his sons, so that their hair might be combed and oiled and tied into top-knots. This was so that they would look well when they sailed for the first time in the great canoe. Uenuku himself combed and oiled and tied their hair, for this was tapu, a sacred thing.
Ruatapu became offended when his father Uenuku elevated his older half-brother
Kahutia-te-rangi (later known as Paikea) ahead of him. When Ruatapu was about to use a comb belonging to Kahutia-te-rangi, Uenuku rebuked him, pointing out that Kahutia-te-rangi was of high rank while Ruatapu was of low birth (because his mother was a slave wife).
Then Ruatapu was very ashamed, and ran away and planned to revenge himself. He ate no food that night, but went down to the canoe and cut a hole in its bottom. Then he filled the hole in again with chips of wood.
In the morning all the noble sons of Uenuku launched the canoe for the first time, and Ruatapu went with them. The canoe was a beautiful sight, with its feathers and tall carvings, and it went very fast over the waves. They paddled a long way out to sea, and Ruatapu kept his heel over the hole so it would not be seen. When they were out of sight of land, Ruatapu pushed away the chips from the hole and water rushed into the canoe.
‘Where is the bailer?’ his brothers shouted.
‘Quickly, bail out the water, or we are lost!’
But Ruatapu had hidden the bailer, and the canoe filled with water and sank. Then Ruatapu had his revenge, for all his noble brothers were drowned, excepting one. Ruatapu swam after his last brother, Kahutia-te-rangi, but he could not catch him.
The Tribes of Ngati Porou and
Ngai Tahu are his descendants.
El Buen Cacao
When in Idyllwild a couple weeks ago, I stumbled upon this amazing Chocolate Café -
El Buen Cacao.
The make chocolate straight from cacao beans from Central and South America. They specialize in dark chocolate, but while we were there we ordered some Chocolate Milk Shakes. They were the best shakes I've ever had in my life. The best word to describe the chocolate there is: FRESH!
Chocolate is one of my favorite things! It always makes me smile and never disappoints, and this is some of the best chocolate I've ever had.
"Strength" by Louie Gong
"Tongues speak. Teeth can bite."
On our trip to Canada back in March, we stopped by 8th Generation at Pike Place Market. The shop was full of amazing art pieces created by #InspiredNatives, but I was immediately drawn to this pair of earrings designed by Louie Gong, the owner. The woman working at the shop told me that they were titled "Strength" and that Louie had designed them as a tribute to the women in his tribe because they are fierce protectors of culture and their posterity. The earrings are designed to look like a wolf's mouth just like a mother wolf would be a fierce protector of her cubs.
I really liked the explanation and could identify with it because I was always told growing up that the women of my Maori tribe, Ngati Porou, were figures of strength and participated in leadership roles and in the protecting and preservation of culture.
According to the description from his website:
This original "Strength" earring design by Louie Gong (Nooksack) developed organically from his signature art style, which often includes symbols of empowerment such as oversized teeth, tongues, and claws. Here, the hand-painted wood compliments northwest Native art traditions ,while ensuring that every single earring has a unique wood grain and paint job that can never be duplicated. This compliments the bold contemporary finish of the body and tongue, which is made of acrylic. The metal jump ring and hook have a gun metal finish.
Louie Gong (Nooksack), founder of Eighth Generation, is a self-taught artist who was raised by his grandparents in the Nooksack tribal community in northwest Washington...Louie’s unique style merges traditional Coast Salish art with influences from his mixed heritage and urban environment to create work that resonates widely across communities and cultures.
Now that Summer is here, two of my favorite things are
Family Time and Cold Treats! Yesterday I had the chance to combine the two for my brother's birthday. The family got together and headed over to one of the best spots in Carson, California:
Tasty Block has all of my favorite island frosty treats like Dole Whips, Shaved Ice, Snow Cones, and Lappert's Ice Cream. It was great to experience the spirit of Aloha while keeping cool in Carson.
Funny Faces with Uncle Joshua!