Edmonds Historical Museum is working to support local Indigenous people and culture. The latest Native art instillation to call Edmonds home is ‘Marsh Life’, a mural carved by Tulalip tribal member, Ty Juvenil.
Using thick planks of cedar, Ty describes the piece as, “A carved depiction of what summer life may have looked like pre-contact, with various marsh animals, crane, frog, and humpy salmon, also some fishermen with some catch in their nets. At the top is the hills behind Edmonds with some spirits of the hills showing. On the sides of the main panel are two guardian posts, both finger-painted as it was done long ago. One female salmon and one male salmon. Finally watching over the marsh in glass is a frog design. Frogs are known across many native communities as powerful creatures, in the physical realm, as well as the spiritual.”
Ty explained that the salmon are blue because his kids helped with the painting. “They kept saying they need to be blue so I listened to them and it worked out amazing.”
The mural rests at the front of the museum in the Reflection Plaza. According to the Museum, ‘honoring the land and the Coast Salish tribes who came before, ‘Marsh Life’ is an artistic depiction and window into what life may have been like for Coast Salish communities living in the area. The piece demonstrates how the biodiversity and natural resources of the marsh were an important part of Coast Salish traditions and way of life.’
“The whole project should have taken less than a year, but due to Covid we had to wait,” Said Ty of the project’s journey. “This was a wonderful journey, and I’m happy we got it blessed before it left Tulalip; I gave it a tour through Tulalip in the bed of the truck.
He added, “I’m hoping one day I can do something like this at home for Tulalip. Just keep paddling I suppose!”
Also, keep an eye out for upcoming Youtube videos from Ty, on how to carve a paddle and other items.
The Edmonds Historical Museum is located in downtown Edmonds at 118 5th Ave N., Edmonds WA 98020. You can also visit historicedmonds.org.
By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News; Photos courtesy of Rachelle Armstead
“I’m not exactly sure why it’s my passion,” pondered Tulalip tribal member Rachelle Armstead. “I just know that I have been in love with music since I was very young. I used to love going to powwows, listening to the music and hearing the drums. I just kind of feel like music is in my blood, I really don’t know how else to explain it.”
As is the case in many cultures around the globe, music has played a key role within the Indigenous communities of America. Dating back to pre-colonial times, our ancestors held music in high regard. Songs were viewed as a form of medicine utilized in traditional ceremonies to spread stories, as well as life lessons, healing prayers, love and joy during celebratory times, and of course, the knowledge and lifeways of our people.
“I grew up near Tulalip,” she recalled. “We lived in Marysville for a while, I think we lived on the rez for a small amount of time, and then we moved up to Camano. In school, I participated in the choirs. Music is my passion and it’s something that I kind of always knew I loved and something that I gradually gravitated to.”
The steady drumbeats that reverberate from our elk and deer hide hand drums have helped the Coast Salish tribes keep time across the generations. The words sang in the tongue of our ancestors kept tradition alive and upheld the beliefs and values of each Washington State treaty tribe during the United States Government’s attempt at assimilation. And through our music, our people were able to heal wounds that were passed down through the recent decades following the destructive and hateful era of the Indian boarding schools. Whether at canoe journey, a community gathering, family potlatch or tribal ceremony, we sing loud, with prideful booming voices that resonate back to the ears of our elder’s elders as well as to our future generations. To us, music is resilience. Music is our medicine.
“I feel like music is a way to connect with people,” Rachelle expressed. “It’s about human interaction and community. Even if you’re the only one playing, like a solo performance, you’re still exchanging with the audience in a good way.”
Modern day storytellers who are passionate about music are finding an abundance of inspiration, influence and direction in traditional songs. Musicians such as A Tribe Called Red are sampling and remixing songs that were originally composed by our ancestors and turning them into a contemporary bop, which rez kids throughout the nation bob their heads to. Throughout the years, a number of Indigenous rappers have carved a name for themselves in the music scene such as Taboo of the Black Eyed Peas, Supaman, Litefoot, and several local favorites which include Tulalip’s own Deama (previously known as Nathan Kix) and Komplex Kai.
Said Rachelle, “I’d say my biggest influence is the traditional music. My music isn’t very traditional, but I feel like in its heart, it has some of those same elements, just in my own language musically. I also really like the acoustic, folk-ey, indie type music. I think because my grandpa liked it a lot; it kind of grew on me. Hip hop too. My mom listened to a lot of hip hop.”
Rachelle’s passion for music may just be in her blood as she suggested, embedded into her DNA from generations prior. Although she cannot pinpoint the exact moment she realized it, her love for the rhythm and harmony of music is everlasting and cannot be measured, it has been growing over time into a perfect crescendo. Rachelle is mapping out the music, hoping the future generations who share her passion can sight read her notes and learn from her cues while putting their own spin on things during their solo journey between the treble and bass clef, which is fitting as she is currently putting all her efforts into learning the ways of the composer.
“When I grew older, my grandpa got me a guitar,” she stated. “I picked up the guitar and the violin, and a little bit of piano. But I feel like my passion is really writing the music and not so much practicing the instruments. Violin is probably my favorite instrument, it has a really wonderful, versatile tone – there’s so much you could do with it. The violin became my main instrument up through my sophomore year of college, before I really started to transfer more into composition.”
She continued, “I started at Presbyterian College actually, majoring in violin. But I got kind of tired of violin and moved on to composition and transferred to a different school, the University of South Carolina because I wanted to work with some of the teachers at the University. And then life got kind of hectic, so I had to drop out for a while. Later on, I found Full Sail University. I wanted to finish my degree and there weren’t a lot of online composition options, but Full Sail had the audio production degree and it seemed like a great idea. And it was, it was very useful. I learned a lot about making music on the computer. And as a part of program, they give you a full home studio setup so I’ve been able to make music from the comfort of my office. Now I’m back at University of South Carolina working on my master’s in composition.”
With her schooling nearly complete, Rachelle is intentionally taking on projects where she can lend her expertise to help strengthen the relationship between the culture and modern-day music. And with more and more Indigenous youth showing an interest in the artform, she hopes sharing her story will inspire young creative Natives to follow their dreams as well as receive a well-rounded education on the fundamentals of music, to equip themselves will all the necessary tools and skills of music creation, so they have solid foundation that sets them up for success in whatever they wish to accomplish through their music.
One of Rachelle’s first projects is a song partnership with the Tulalip Lushootseed Language Department. She explains, “When I was young, I loved language camp. Every summer we would sing and make our little paddle [clappers], that was always fun. I really love our language. I think it’s so joyful and beautiful. I want to promote it in any way that I can. The more people speak it, the more they enjoy it. Because COVID has been so discouraging for a lot of people, and since we can’t all get together and sing together, I thought people would enjoy this. Even though we aren’t physically singing together, this was a way to hear all of our voices together, in our own language.”
The idea behind the project was to create an opportunity for community members to collaborate on an original choir song, sang entirely in lushootseed. Rachelle reached out to Tulalip Lushootseed Warrior, Sarah Miller, who wrote the lyrics for the song and Rachelle arranged and composed all of the music. Rachelle then created a website, where the lyrics and music were posted, and asked Tulalip tribal members to record themselves singing one section of the song. When complete, the song would’ve featured a variety of Tribal voices on the track. However, due to pandemic, many people couldn’t fit time to record into their busy schedules by Rachelle’s deadline of March 1. Wanting to see the idea through, Rachelle intends to sing the original choral piece in its entirety and also hopes that it finds its way to the Tulalip Lushootseed website, featured alongside many traditional songs that are posted for educational purposes.
Rachelle expressed that tying-in the cultural aspect into her music is important to her craft. She believes that music is a good way for Native America to spread awareness and bring attention to matters that are affecting us a community, including the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women campaign.
“Music is a great medium for sharing stories, sharing our lives and bringing awareness to important issues or problems that are happening in our lives. When I first saw the MMIW movement on social media, I felt really inspired by it. It reminded me of an older story that I read once called Dancing Outside. There’s a movie that is pretty interesting and the book is a short story – it’s really heart wrenching. So, I wrote a song about it. I feel like it was a way for me to express grief about the situation, and hopefully other people could feel that too, and understand. I think other people who also feel these emotions can express it through music in a safe way, lots of issues can be expressed and addressed through music. And we can also comfort each other through music and kind of let the world know what’s going on in our community.”
Rachelle encourages anybody with a love for music to continue to pursue their passion and hopes to collaborate with the Tribe in the near future to begin a music program for tribal youth. To stay updated on Rachelle’s musical career path, be sure to visit her professional website, https://www.rachellearmsteadmusic.com, and don’t forget to check out her tunes on her Soundcloud artist page at https://soundcloud.com/rachelle-armstead.
“If you like something, go for it,” she said. “Really practice and find your personal style. Music, for Native communities specifically, I think it’s just that element of human interaction – our music brings people closer together, it’s something that makes us feel proud. When we sing it’s like, this is our music, this is what we do. This is how we express our joy and our love and our sorrow.”
Traditional teachings spanning countless generations and highly detailed craftsmanship are imbedded within the foundation of Native American artwork. These fundamental aspects continue today much as they did thousands of years ago, even as today’s Native artists continue to evolve in response to social changes, new markets, and a desire for unique, personal expression.
The resurgence of canoe carving teaches youth how to strengthen body and spirt by working together, while increasing importance on tribal food sovereignty assists healers combat modern diseases in a traditional way. Like so many aspects of their vibrant culture, Native artists have an important dual role of simultaneously creating works for their family and community celebrations, but also for public consumption via private sales, art galleries and educational displays.
Think of how far Indigenous representation in the greater Seattle area has come in just the last several decades. Thirty years ago, you couldn’t find a map using the term ‘Salish Sea’ for the Puget Sound region. Present day, the term ‘Salish’ is a part of local vernacular and commonly understood as describing tribal culture spanning the Northwest Coast.
Through the efforts of many, a vision of authentically produced flowing formline to represent its homelands has come to fruition. The characteristic sweeping lines and subtle patterns of Salish art is now recognizable and emblematic of the Northwest Coast, as it was always meant to be.
We bring you now a collection of Indigenous artistry that evokes traditional ties to the land and sea, while showcasing innovation and a look to the future. Today’s artists aren’t afraid to push boundaries nor experiment with non-traditional materials. Instead, they welcome the challenge to display the beauty of Salish culture across all mediums.
“I bead pretty much every day,” said Tulalip tribal member, Donna Chambers. “I really want good energy to go out to the people through the gifts I make. I don’t make anything sad, mad or upset. I do everything with good spirit in my heart and I just go by what my heart says to do.”
Sometimes life gives you a sneak peek into your future when you find something you absolutely love, care for and are deeply passionate about. For some it’s sewing, drawing, carving, singing, dancing, photography – you name it. You know instantly when your passion finds you. And it matters little if you practice every day from that point on or if you acknowledge that connection and agree to revisit it later on in life. When your soul and your life’s passion align, that bond cannot be broken, not even by the hands of time, especially when your culture has significant ties to your calling.
This was something Donna knew when she fell in love with her passion at the age of 18. When she picked up a thread and needle to bead her first pair of earrings, she couldn’t tear herself away from her newfound traditional hobby for months on end. She also knew it when she no longer had enough time in her day to continue her practice while raising a young family and working a full-time job. When she set down her beads only one year later, she knew it was temporary and that she would return to her art one day in the future. Over thirty years later, after living a fulfilled life, watching her kids grow up and caring for her parents until they transitioned to their next journey, Donna’s passion found its way back into her life and has brought her endless joy and good vibes, which she in turn cycles back into her artwork and therefore, into the Tulalip community.
“I originally started when I was young just to get involved with our culture, to try to get in-tune with my heritage,” she said. “I didn’t live here on the reservation during my childhood. I was born and raised in Oregon, so I pretty much lived away from the area until I was about the age of 12 when I moved back here. At the beginning, I did bead a lot and made a few things for myself like my dangly earrings, just learning the basics. I was beading before my kids were born and I put it away because I was busy with the kids and the family all the time. I decided to pick it back up after I lost my mom and dad. I’ve been going for about three years now and I’m now 56.”
Donna’s kids knew little about her passion and her heart’s desire to bead. In fact, her daughter, Alicia Budd, is the person who reintroduced her back into the world of beading. According to Donna, Alicia attended a beading-circle over a long weekend, returned home and immediately told her mom ‘you should learn how to bead, this would be really good for you’.
“I like to do things with my hands, I also like to crotchet,” Donna expressed. “I’ve made lap blankets for my family and the kids who’ve come into my life, so that they have blankets when they are reading their books or watching TV. My daughter sat down with me and showed me what she learned. She refreshed my brain because I lost it for so many years. I picked it up that day and never set it back down. Now it’s something I look forward to doing every single day.”
Almost as important as the artform itself is the creator’s personal environment, how they set themselves up in order to get into the proverbial ‘zone’ while maximizing production and minimizing distractions. Some artists require certain foods, vices, lighting and people around in order to generate their best work. Donna claims that all she needs is the love of her family and friends, some good tunes (ranging from classic oldies to Hip Hop and R&B, all the way to heavy metal), and her beads. She goes into each project with good intentions and sans game plan, letting her heart freestyle the design and guide her until the work is complete. Her workstation includes her late father’s comfortable chair, her work materials meticulously arranged all around her and of course, a variety of vibrant beads.
When asked what type of items she creates today she replied, “Oh just about everything! I still occasionally make my dangly earrings, but most of the things I make now are lanyards. Somebody at the clinic saw the lanyards my daughter and I wear and asked where they could get them, so some of the nurses at our health clinic ended up buying a lot of lanyards from me. I make sure to make a lot of them because lanyards are something that people can always use. The other things I make are keychains, earrings, headbands, medallions, bracelets, barrettes, broaches, bolo ties. I made an entire wallet from scratch once. I also made Seahawk medallions for myself and my grandson, JD Rinker, and I made him a full-length tie that he can wear at Youth Council meetings and gatherings where they have to dress up.”
She continued, “I’ve also beaded center pieces for the headbands that some of our youth wear with their regalia during salmon ceremony. And I’ve made bracelets for the guys, I made three of them, one I gave to Louie [Pablo], it had Eddy’s name on it, he was Louie’s brother who passed away. I gifted him one because it felt like it was the right thing to do at the time, something to remember his brother by.”
Several times Donna expressed that she allows her heart to lead when it comes to her art. And my oh my, Donna has quite the big heart. Not only does she bead cool custom pieces for family or bracelets to honor loved ones, Donna also gifts a lot of her work to our local heroes including police officers, judges, firefighters, and the men and women who bravely serve in the US military.
“My daughter works at the courthouse so I surprised everybody at her work with a gift,” Donna said. “All the judges got something from me, as well as the clerks and the secretaries. I’ve done work for some of the funerals out here, I made their families keychains and necklaces. I also make a lot of pieces for police officers. I made these little medals, shaped like a police badge, and I beaded around them and put them on a necklace. I’ve given about twenty away so far. I just give them to any police officer that I see and feel like that’s the one. I’ve given some to our Tribal police officers and three to Marysville police officers. I usually carry some of my work in my car, so if I do see a police officer, a fireman, or somebody serving in the army or the military, I can offer it to them as a way to thank them for their service and everything they do. I’ve gifted pieces to [TPD] Officer Jeff Jira and just completed something for our Chief of Police.”
During the coronavirus pandemic, Donna was presented with the opportunity to focus more on her beadwork. In addition to beading, she also poured her efforts into a new project, creating masks. She explained that after she saw the need for more masks in the community, and the demand for something a little more aesthetically pleasing than the standard surgical mask, she started sewing immediately, creating clothed masks with Native, floral and paisley designs. Whenever she leaves home and is headed to the local grocer, she is sure to grab a handful of masks, which are often distributed to the store’s employees and shoppers before she even checks-off the first item of her shopping list.
Donna strongly believes that beading is an essential tradition to the Native American culture, noting that it is an artform that is easily identifiable and synonymous with the Indigenous way of life and teachings. The relationship between Indigenous people and beadwork dates back generations prior to colonial times to when our ancestors crafted beads from bone and stone. Beads were worn as a status symbol of wealth and beaded items were featured on traditional regalia, jewelry and artwork. Due to the introduction of glass, metal, crystal and various beads through trade, the colorway and pattern possibilities for Native beadwork holds no bounds.
Donna is doing her part to keep the tradition going, teaching the future generations of Tulalip all of her tricks of the trade, ensuring the art of beading extends well past her children’s children. Since returning to the bead game, she has shared her knowledge with many Tribal and community members, including Facebook friends, and many of the kids from her neighborhood. Donna also has some future classes with the Tribe in the works and plans to conduct Facebook Live tutorials in order to help aspiring beaders with the fundamentals.
“I just hope the more I bead, the more kids around me will want to pick it up,” she said. “Sometimes it does show. Louie’s three little kids were over here last summer, watching me bead. They kept saying they wanted to learn how to bead. They were persistent, so I made them each a beading packet with all the tools and showed them how to do it. They sat here for over two hours with me and they picked it up really fast. They each made something that day. When they were done, I told them they couldn’t keep it and they looked at me kind of sad because it was their first piece. I explained that since it was the first thing they ever made, they had to give it away in order to get good vibes back. They decided to gift them to their mom and grandpa so their very first pieces could stay in the family.”
Donna hopes that by sharing her story and her passion for beadwork, she can garner enough attention to reach the representatives of one Ellen DeGeneres, stating “I have an Ellen DeGeneres piece. My dad was really into Ellen, he faithfully watched her show. When he passed, I felt like I needed to bead her name on a medallion. I have not yet been able to gift it to her because I don’t know how to go about giving it to her or getting it there.”
With a new and fully-restored love for beadwork, there is no project that Donna is afraid to tackle. In fact, she is happily welcoming any challenge that comes her way because, as she said, all she needs is her beads and her beats. All of Donna’s work comes with a guarantee, as she tells all of her customers that if anything happens to a piece you purchase from her, she will fix it for free. If you are interested in purchasing any of Donna’s work, please contact her via Facebook for more information.
“There’re things that I make to sell, but there are a lot of things I make simply because my heart tells me to do it,” Donna said. “I gift them to all types of different people because it feels like something I need to do. But I do enjoy selling items when I can because it does put extra money into my funds so I can continue to bead more. It gives me good energy, that’s why I like to put good energy back into it. It makes you feel good that you’ve accomplished something for the day. All I can say is if you’re interested in beading, try it out, pick it up. I bet you’ll like it because I definitely do.”
By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News; photos courtesy of Walter Moses
“Cedar is a sacred tree to the Tulalip Tribes, there are numerous stories behind the cedar tree,” said Tulalip Artist, Walter Moses. “I’ve been in the lumber industry for a decade and I’ve seen and worked with all types of cedar and learned a lot of history behind the cedar tree. Every piece has a specific grain to it, all the grain is not going to be the same. Some of them will have different shapes and different lines. To me, that piece of cedar is actually telling a story. Sometimes you’ll see little waves inside the cedar. At that time in the tree’s life, there was a lot of turbulence and a lot of stress on the tree. When you see someone wearing a pair of my earrings, they’re actually wearing something that came out of a 200, 300-year-old tree, a tree that has been here longer than the country itself. What they’re wearing is a piece of history.”
Long before colonists arrived to this sacred land, the Indigenous people of the Northwest took great care of the region, living and thriving off the land’s natural resources. As Walter stated, the cedar tree played a significant role in the lifeways of the Salish people. The cedar was used for a number of means in all aspects of our ancestors’ everyday lives. Some traditional items created from cedar include bentwood boxes, paddles, rattles, totem poles, baskets, hats, masks, headbands and canoes. Whether it was for fishing, hunting, gathering, ceremonial, medicinal or spiritual purposes, the cedar tree could be fashioned into a number of tools by way of weaving or carving techniques, teachings that have been passed on generation after generation.
“My dad is a carver and his father was a carver, it just runs in the family,” Walter proudly expressed. “As far as I can remember, my dad’s always been carving stuff like masks, paddles, totem poles, just a large variety of traditional things. When I was about 11 years of age, he sat me down to teach me how to carve, how to use an adze and the simple techniques that we use in carving. My first project was a shovel-nosed canoe, that’s a traditional mountain canoe, not like the sea-going ones that you see on the canoe journey. It’s the ones our people used to go up and down the rivers in the mountains, and they look quite different than the ones you see out on the Puget Sound, they have thicker hulls and are in the shovel shape. I still remember the lady who bought it from me, she bought it for $40 and I spent the money at the Marysville Strawberry Festival.”
Walter is quick to point out that his personal journey with art, however, did not begin with carvings. Although he observed his father and Tulalip Master Carver, Kelly Moses Sr., perfect his craft from a young age, Walter initially fell in love with drawing, often sketching scenic pictures, animals and whales. He was encouraged daily by his father and teachers. His art was showcased at the front of his classrooms at school and he also received ‘A++’ reviews from Kelly Sr. on the regular.
Walter said, “I actually started drawing when I was about 5. As far as I can remember, I’ve always been drawing. Drawing is one of the main fundamental skills that I had to master in order to become a carver. There are multiple skills when it comes to carving, that isn’t carving itself. You’re talking about blueprinting everything out; you have to be a good drawer, you have to be able to look at something and draw it down. You have to know the cedar type, the grain, how to get the cedar. So, it’s not just carving, there’s a story and you have to know how to tell those stories. There’s a multitude of things you have to learn over time.”
Historically, carvings are integral to traditional ceremonies. Songs, dances and stories are shared utilizing cedar carvings; singers shake rattles, dancers pull paddles and stories are commonly re-enacted with masks. Today, Walter took that knowledge from generations prior and found a way to honor the traditional art of carving and blend it with his own unique style, creating modern day jewelry such as bracelets, pendants and his highly popular and extremely limited earrings.
“Nowadays I’m creating a lot of jewelry which would include earrings, pendants, bracelets, and I can still do some masks and paddles,” he said. “The reason I’m doing earrings and pendants is because masks and paddles are something for the home, something to showcase on the wall when guests come over. With jewelry, it’s art you can take with you. It’s a piece of history that you’re taking with you, that you can adorn your body with because the spirit lives in the body, so why not adorn the spirit with a piece of history.”
For two-years, the full-time family man and lumberman dedicated his weekends to his passion. He explained that the decision to follow this journey just may have been his destiny as his grandfather, on his mother’s side, also handcrafted jewelry, specializing in beaded necklaces.
Walter originally stumbled across jewelry-making while raffling paddles and masks at local Indigenous gatherings. When he noticed the majority of people who purchased his raffle tickets were women, he began to take requests, one of which happened to be for earrings. Walter accepted the challenge and upon seeing the positive response after posting his first set of earrings online, he decided to pursue this path and dedicated his time and energy to making jewelry and regalia crafted from cedar.
“It’s just a natural thing,” he said. “I think about art like all the time. At work I’m thinking about art. If I see a certain shape on a piece of wood, I go wow that would make a really cool piece of art. My dad helped me develop a photographic memory. If I see something awesome, I build off that. I have an art disease in my brain that causes me to think about art all the time.”
Through his artwork, he still gets the opportunity to express his love for drawing, incorporating formline by hand-painting and micro-engraving Indigenous designs into many of his earrings. And because each piece is hand carved and painted, the earrings are in high-demand and extremely limited, often selling minutes after Walter adds them to his social medias. It is also very important to him that he does not replicate any of his past work, that each new pair of earrings, pendent or bracelet is an original one-of-one creation. Walter also incorporates modern-day meme-culture into his artwork, recently creating Baby Yoda and Bernie Sanders earrings which were a huge hit on his Instagram profile.
Walter explained, “I’ll look at something and think, ‘hmm, I can make something out of that’. I use a lot of rulers, rulers are very important. Fractions are also very important for measuring the wood, making sure each piece is measured and the thickness is correct. I’ll go from there and just build. I don’t blueprint, I just make them up as I go along. For my masks I’ll do a blueprint, but for the earrings I do the first design that comes to me. Even though there is a lot fine detail that goes into them, I’ll leave defects in there just because it shows the human spirit in it. You know, not everything is perfectly identical, it’s unique in its own way. Sometimes I’ll leave little scratches or dings on there because it adds character to it, its own uniqueness.”
Walter also does his part in sharing the knowledge of his craft, prepping the next generation of Tulalip artists, not only by involving his own kids in his work, but also by teaching classes at Tulalip-Heritage High School as well as sharing stories at a handful of elementary classrooms in the Bellingham School District.
“Last year, before COVID broke out, one of the Native liaisons reached out to me and asked if I was interested in teaching at Tulalip-Heritage. I used to go out there twice a month and teach them how to carve, how to make earrings and about our art in general, just to get them involved and get their hands moving,” he said. “My dad always told me to keep your hands busy all the time. That’s a lesson that I teach and practice. I also talk at the elementary classes in Bellingham, telling them some of our stories. I speak in front of the class for about an hour, a lot of its been online though, not in person. When we pick back up, I’ll actually share in-person. Kids should know the history of the people in this area and not think of us just as people who own casinos and live on the reservation. They should know we have a unique background, that there were people here before their ancestors came and that we’re still here and will always be here.”
Walter is proudly continuing in the footsteps of his bloodline, building upon what his father and ancestors passed on through the generations and continuing the Moses legacy of carving. And it appears as though his journey is just getting started as word about his work continues to spread across the social media platforms.
“My work is not just a piece of wood with a Coast Salish design on it, it’s also a piece of me – a bit of my teachings from my father and his father, a bit of my meditation, prayers and good-thoughts. My dad taught me that as sduhubš people, we all have a special gift, something that we are meant to do to help our people out,” he shared. “And the younger people might not know what it is yet, but they will find their way to help our people. Our special gift is something that we get from our maker. Not everyone is going to be a carver, storyteller, leader, spiritual worker, everybody has their own special gift that will help them. Mine has helped me through some tough times growing up. When I was younger, I knew that I could always fall back and count on my art to help me out.”
A gallery of Walter’s carvings can be viewed on his personal Instagram account, @WalterM2213. Walter also does special requests on a case-by-case basis, depending on his time available. Be sure to send him a direct message if you are interested in purchasing any of his handmade cedar jewelry.
“It’s important for me to carry this on because it’s a part of us, part of my family. I don’t really even consider it my art, I consider it our art. I carry it on because it’s a statement that we’re still here. I read somewhere that the revolution will come in the form of contemporary art. I like how that sounds, so I continue to do it.”
A recently finished mural project in downtown Edmonds, spanning two facing walls, portrays the pre-European life of our Coast Salish ancestors. Local residents and visitors can view the large-scale depictions of early encampments, canoes, smoking fish, cedar baskets and garments, and native plants and animals.
Completed in September 2020, the mural project is a collaboration of hard work and cultural understanding between Edmonds artist Andy Eccleshall, and Tulalip tribal member artist Ty Juvinel. The project was organized by Mural Project Edmonds, a committee of Art Walk Edmonds.
“I was approached by Andy because of the carving I am doing for the Edmonds Historical Museum, as well as various exhibits throughout Edmonds,” explained Ty. “Andy needed someone to create a mural that would represent the history of Edmonds and I mentioned the possibility of doing a mural depicting early contact, between fur trading.
“Andy did the amazing painting and I helped with the depiction,” said Ty. For more than a year, Ty shared history and photos with Andy, including a visit to the Hibulb Cultural Museum, to help him gain a better understanding of Coast Salish culture.
Everything from the way huts were constructed, the design and use of canoes, how cedar was used, traditional cooking methods and the inclusion of a woolly dog, were discussed by the two artists.
Ty explained that woolly dogs were bred for their long hair, which was perfect for weaving into blankets and other items.
“One thing I like to mention, is Andy was told by a passerby that the women in the painting were wrong,” said Ty. “The passerby said they were wrong because their hair wasn’t matted and the hair shouldn’t be that nice. Luckily, I was there that day to dispel that claim, and educated them both that the Salish people bathed religiously, sometimes up to three times a day. Even during the winter, with cedar bow’s dipped in water and brushed against the body.”
“That area of Edmonds used to be a marsh land, so I figured it may have been used as a summer camp area; summer foraging and prepping for winter,” explained Ty. “From there it was just trying to close my eyes and go back to those days of beach camps, elders teaching basketry, hunting, fishing, kids doing as they please, everyone is busy with their chores, preparing for the winter. I was hoping the idea of a community would be shown, and Andy shows it. Community is everyone bringing their resources and abilities together for the community. Again, Andy depicts this wonderfully. When I stand in front of this mural I feel like I’m waiting for them to come to life. The men on the water shouting ashore, the scent of the smoke mixed with salmon and gentle tides.”
Ty’s signature can be found, along with Andy’s, at the base of each mural.
“It was a joy to work within the Edmonds community. Every time I visit I’m welcomed as a neighbor and everyone seems very genuine. I look forward to my next visit,” added Ty.
The mural is located on facing walls in the alley between 4th and 5th Avenue in Edmonds, connecting to Main Street.
Tulalip, WA (Dec. 21, 2020) – Readers of Seattle Magazine have picked their favorite places for 2020 – and Tulalip Resort Casino has come out on top once again as the “Best Casino” in the publication’s annual Readers Choice Poll.
It is the second straight year Tulalip Resort Casino earned major kudos from Seattle Magazine readers, who also named their favorite spots for dining, travel destinations and shopping. The survey results appeared in the publication’s November/December issue.
Tulalip Resort Casino has garnered multiple awards and recognition in 2020 from travel organizations, meeting industry professionals, and resort and casino guests.
“We appreciate the recognition by our guests and Seattle Magazine. We strive to provide everyone who visits an exceptional experience, and this award is a testament to our team’s hard work in meeting the high standards we set for ourselves,” said Ken Kettler, Tulalip Gaming Organization COO/President.
By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News; photos courtesy Cherokee Nation
One of the largest Native American art shows in the nation is currently underway and 100% free to attend online. The 15th annual Cherokee Art Market is where 90 elite all-Native artists and artisans from across the United States – representing 50+ different tribes – come together to display and sell truly amazing jewelry, pottery, paintings, sculptures, and more. Digital visitors will be blown away by the culturally vibrant, hand-made treasures that can make your favorite household room more striking and holiday gift giving even more memorable.
“Art is a powerful reminder of past and present, of grand traditions and daily routines,” said Cherokee Nation Chief, Chuck Hoskin Jr. “Art adapts to adversity. It is a clear note of perseverance in the worst of times and a powerful reminder of that perseverance in the best of times. Many of our ancestors were once forbidden to tell stories in their Native language. Today you carry their voices, and I look around with a sense of wonder at just how far those voices go.”
Originally scheduled for a traditional, in-person market to be held in October, changes were necessary under current conditions in order to bring the market to fruition. Perseverance by both artists and art enthusiasts was called upon to bring a virtual platform together.
“The 2020 virtual art market created a new and unique opportunity for Cherokee Nation to introduce our market to a worldwide audience,” added Chief Hoskin. “We have a responsibility to keep artisans and patrons safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, so the shift to an online format was the best way to move forward. In this challenging environment, we were able to ensure the most talented Native artists were still able to show their work and find a receptive audience.”
Going virtual for the first time ever expands the possible audience and online engagement, especially for those who live great distances or simply hadn’t been aware that such a market even exists until now. The Cherokee Art Market is currently ‘live’ and is scheduled to end the morning of December 21. It can be reached at visitcherokeenation.com/cherokee-art-market/art-gallery
“This year has been tremendously difficult for artists, with many shows being forced to cancel, so we offered the virtual platform at no cost to help them to show and sell their work safely,” said Deborah Fritts, Cherokee Art Market coordinator. “Not only does their dedication and creativity promote Native culture, it enhances timely and relevant conversations about our past, present and future. We look forward to celebrating their work and hope the public will take time to visit us online.”
Those individuals seeking authentic Native art, created by a wide range of tribal representatives, are encouraged to visit this unique digital marketplace. Even without making a purchase, visitors will be immersed in a bounty of traditional treasure that truly celebrates the diversity of tribal cultures and creativity.
Visit the all virtual Cherokee Art Market now through December 21 at visitcherokeenation.com/cherokee-art-market
Here are a few unique items that highlight the market’s broad range of elite Native artists and their stunning craftsmanship.
Are you looking for interesting, artistic, and one-of-a-kind gifts this season? Meet artist Michael Hoover.
Born in north Seattle’s Waldo Hospital at Northgate on February 6, 1973 I have been a lifelong resident of Washington state. I grew up in the township of Woodway, a small suburban community within the city of Edmonds.
I had the privilege of growing up in a household that practiced old fashioned family values. We prayed together, went to church on Sundays and were taught the values of hard work and honesty.
Life, however, was not always so Rockwellian. I spent many years enduring hardships, isolation, and a sort of self-imposed exile. I went down a hard road and developed a substance use disorder which led me to make some very poor and very regrettable decisions which in turn took me down a path of incarceration. In 2006 I was convicted of robbery and sent to prison for the rest of my life, and without the possibility of parole. As bleak as my prospects were, I was determined to make the best of the situation I had made for myself.
Although I had been sent to prison my father had become a staunch supporter and good friend. And so it was that I strived to live a life that would make my father proud. After several years and some adjustments in my thinking I was bestowed the great honor of serving as the Native American Pipe Man at the Washington State Penitentiary. I remained in that position from 2009 to 2018. I made many personal connections with individuals throughout this time. Within these connections I was reunited with humanity and the sense of dignity that comes with serving others. It was during this time that I grew as a person, and as an artist. I fell in love with the mate of my soul and I was given the opportunity to live life without the burden of addiction and the shame that comes with it.
In 2017 Governor Jay Inslee commuted my life without parole sentence to a determinate 231 months. I now have a release date of February 2, 2025. Since being given this rare and extraordinary act of grace I have enrolled in Walla Walla Community College and am working to earn my Associates Degree in Social work. Upon my eventual release I wish to continue working with at risk individuals who have found themselves in the unlikely place that is prison or those who are facing the trauma of their past who are at risk of incarceration. It will be my duty as a citizen to never again commit a crime and to honor those whom I have harmed in my past by being a beacon of change and a force for good.
I don’t know exactly how the future will play out but my faith in God and with the support of my family and beautiful wife I know I will be exactly where I am supposed to be. And, that whatever station I find myself in, I will continue to make my father proud.
As a man of Lumbee Irish American ancestry, I was raised with Native and urban American influences. My works of art are inspired by the Powerful and ancient Northwest Coast Indian Art form and are a reflection of my cross-cultural experiences. Most works are executed in acrylic paint and often incorporate reclaimed wood as my medium. Mixed-media paintings incorporate items from the natural world such as abalone shell and unprocessed wood. A few of my older pieces from years ago are not original. I was learning the art form by replicating the beautiful art of others. To them I am grateful and do my best to refer to another artist’s work if I know the source.
I strive to create evocative pieces that pay respect to the history of the Salish people and the Native culture. Many of my pieces reflect cultural and religious function such as dancing, drumming, and praying which are a celebration and acknowledgement of all parts of my history. This art form allows me to express my world view: joy, sadness, freedom, incarceration and my ever deepening cultural awareness. I am honored to be practicing such a revenant and spiritual art form that spans generations and inspires transformation both internally and externally. This platform allows me to start from center, deepening my own understanding of all the complexities of culture and storytelling through the construction of ancient elements.
By highlighting the strength, beauty, power, gracefulness and legacy of Northwest Coast Indian Art I hope to inspire a recognition of indigenous art as a bridge between the past, present and future. The audience is invited to consider that the history of the past is truly intertwined with the present. I believe the past echoes in each of our hearts and that art strikes a vibrant chord in the soul which reminds us that parallel histories are truly intertwined.
It is my hope that my art will inspire a conversation about the challenges of indigenous artist who attempt to create art which is both evocative and meaningful from such an oppressive environment such as prison and the lack of representation of underprivileged artist in the mainstream.