Native Village
Youth and Education news
Volume 4   April  2011

Native Americans use art to 'tell our stories'
Read the entire article: http://www.azcentral.com/
Condensed by Native Village

Minnesota: Most artists use brushes, canvas, pottery wheels, or a set of talented hands. 

Wanesia Misquadace, however, relies largely on her teeth.

W
anesia is among a handful of Native American artists who practice birch-bark biting. She learned the tradition while growing up in the Fond du Lac Ojibwa tribe.

To make a birch-bark piece, Misquadace begins with a thin layer of folded bark. With her eyeteeth, she creates imprints in the bark, being sure not to pierce the wood. When the bark is unfolded, images of flowers, turtles and dragonflies appear.

"Birch bark is the strength of our people," Misquadace said. "It's used in our baskets and canoes and (the bitings) as a means to tell our stories."


Birch bitings of:

A turtle told a tale of creation.

A lady-slipper orchid told of a young girl's sacrifice to help heal her sick tribe.

Water lilies helped elders tell the story of the Star Maiden, a star who loved the Ojibwa people so much that she became a flower to be close to the tribe.

Misquadace also uses elements of birch-bark work in jewelry making, a skill learned from her Navajo husband, Fritz Casuse.  This has led to her latest work, The Essence of the Lake Collection. Essence is a series of silver jewelry and ornate pieces decorated with birch bark and semiprecious and precious stones.

"I'm contemporizing the traditional use of birch bark by using silver and wood," she said. "It's very organic. I'm making it my own."

Wanesia was among 700 American Indian artists chosen to showcase their work at the 53rd Heard Museum Guild Indian Fair and Market last month.  From Florida  to Alaska, nearly every North American tribe was represented. The weekend festival featured art demonstrations, dance performances, author signings and cultural food vendors.

It's that diversity, both in artwork and cultures, that helps educate visitors.

"People tend to see Native Americans as living in the past,"  said Kate Crowley from the Heard Museum. "When they visit the market, they get to witness both innovation and tradition up close."

2011 Heard Museum Juried Competition Award Winners:
http://www.heard.org/pdfs/11-GLD-winnersprogram_nocrops.pdf

Native Village Home Page

Backgrounds: Robert Kaufman Fabrics: http://www.robertkaufman.com/

NATIVE VILLAGE website was created for youth, educators, families, and friends who wish to celebrate the rich, diverse cultures of The Americas' First Peoples. We offer readers two monthly publications: NATIVE VILLAGE Youth and Education News and NATIVE VILLAGE Opportunities and Websites.  Each issue shares today's happenings in Indian country.
Native Village is responsible for format changes.
Articles may also include additional photos, art, and graphics which enhance the visual appeal and and adds new dimensions to the articles. Each is free or credited by right-clicking the picture, a page posting, or appears with the original article. 
Our hopes are to make the news as informative, educational, enjoyable as possible.
NATIVE VILLAGE also houses website libraries and learning circles  to enrich all lives on Turtle Island.
 
Please visit, and sign up for our update: NativeVillage500@aol.com.