4. May 2012 06:31
Tsimshian Revives the Art of Totem Carving
Tsimshian David Boxley and his son, also named David, are reviving the art of totem pole carving.
When Boxley decided to resurrect this ancient skill he discovered that no one was left in his tribe who could teach him. He visited museums to study existing totem poles, the materials, paints and carving techniques used.
In an interview with BBC, Boxley said that totem poles stood outside Tsimshian homes, not as religious symbols, but as declarations of a family’s lineage, a statement of a man’s tribe, clan and ancestors.
Although the original lands of the Tsimshian people were in British Columbia, today Boxley and his family live in Alaska. He is currently working on a 22 foot totem pole for the Smithsonian Institution.
Coeur d'Alene Tribe Establishes Unique History Museum
Efforts of a few dedicated Native people have transformed what began as a traveling exhibit into a permanent museum display. Sacred Encounters: Father De Smet and the Indians of the Rocky Mountain West, explores contact between Jesuits and the Native Coeur d’Alene during the 19th Century. The story is told from the Native American as well as the European point of view.
For information on visiting Sacred Encounters at Old Mission State Park, Cataldo, Idaho, see the Idaho Parks Dept. website at http://parksandrecreation.idaho.gov/parks/oldmission.aspx.
Genetically Pure Buffalo Return to the Great Plains
This March, 61 genetically pure wild bison have returned to a tiny portion of their ancestral lands on the Fort Peck and Fort Belknap Reservations in Montana, thanks to the efforts of Defenders of Wildlife, the Assiniboine, Sioux and Gros Ventre Tribes, Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer and others. The buffalo had been living in quarantine near Yellowstone National Park, because ranchers feared that their herds might contract disease from the wild buffalo.
Buffalo have been part of the traditional life of many Native American tribes—not only those on the Great Plains for whom the bison was sacred, but for many tribes having lands that border the Great Plains.
There is still opposition from some Montana farmers and ranchers. According to a recent article on Fox News, they believe a growing bison population on Montana threatens their interests. Montana already has bison herds that have been cross bred with cattle for the market.
These bison are different—because they’re genetically pure they are a symbol of Native tradition and power. For more information on this story visit the Defenders of Wildlife website http://www.defenders.org/.