Viewing page 17 of 22


Transcription: [01:03:42]
{SPEAKER name="Greg Arnold"}
That's where I see carving helping tradition
and helping, like my generation - all generations really.
Because all of us participated from real old- elderly gentleman who's on a walker, to young kids.

{SPEAKER name="Speaker 2"}
You know, one of the things, along with languages and cultural preservation is that
In many cases, you see a lot of Indian tribes thriving because this whole process of change-
We're all in a kind of a state of flux, you know
You gotta realize that traditional Indian art is not traditional Indian art in the old sense. Okay?
We have had, for example, various schools of painters
Plains Indian painters on the Southern Plains
And their style of painting depicts horses and people in very elaborate and colorful tribal dress.
And you can see this trend going to about 1930
And then suddenly, something very different happens.
The canvases begin to shimmer with a different kind of feeling, a different kind of attitude.
You see the animals doing different things.
Finally, it gets to the point where the animal almost totally disappears, and you see a lot of people
And you see a lot of scenery in the background that looks very surrealist.
And there are lots of different examples of this transition occurring even in wood carving.
The traditional wood carvings of the Makah Indians have gone- have been in a state of transition
I think it's all for the good, because I don't think any culture is able to really stand still in time
And say 'this is it, this is all there is to it.’
Because we're being affected by modern life.
Policies are changing, attitudes are changing,
The whole life form around you is kind of coming in, and
There's a kind of a pressure going on, there's a kind of state of emergency going on
And artists feel this, and usually, they're the first ones that can make this first transitional step
Because it's a very scary process to be able to take something which you have been doing for years
And go beyond it. Okay?
Because there's problems of interpretation,
There's a lot of fear on the part of the public
Because they don't always realize what you're doing.
But I think you can see that also in wood, and also in stone carving.
Since we're talking about this period of flux
And we're talking a little about some of the artifacts that come out of these cultural programs and museums in preservation or conservation,
Why don't we ask Ms. Watt. Ruth, in terms of basketry,
are there things that some of the young people are doing in basketry that you think has changed or is not like it used to be
Or are there some things happening in basketry that you can talk about?

{SPEAKER name="Ruth Watt"}
Well, on our reservation, there's very little interest in basket making among the young people
Maybe about 3 or 4 years ago, my mother had some basket classes
and there was very little interest in it.

{SPEAKER name="Speaker 2"}
I see.

{SPEAKER name="Ruth Watt"}
And it's too bad that it's like that.
I have three nieces who have become real interested in making baskets.
So, I think that they will be able to be on their own, in a short time.

{SPEAKER name="Speaker 2"}
Right. So along with all of this change and flux, people find other interests.
And so some of this stuff is put aside
And I think Ruth is here precisely for the reason that basketry does happen
And in some cases, it's thriving- in some areas.
But it's getting, it's turning into something that was a ‘used to be.’

{SPEAKER name="Ruth Watt"}
Yes. Even now, we used to have a neighbor that made handles for us,
and it's very difficult for us to find anyone who makes real good handles
We have come across some men that made hands,
But we weren't quite satisfied.

{SPEAKER name="Speaker 2"}
Even in our community, we have difficulty finding people who can make these huge excellent pow-wow drums
You know, the ones that you see where people are out dancing-
How many people- a lot of you people go to pow-wows.
Have you seen those dances [?]
The whole gear, the whole feather work,
Everything has changed, and some of the stuff has-
I look at it, and when I was a child, it was all different, okay.
Because you've seen these things happening, and they're very very beautiful and ornate.
But you don't recognize them as being the costume you wore some 10 or 20 years ago,

Please note that the language and terminology used in this collection reflects the context and culture of the time of its creation, and may include culturally sensitive information. As an historical document, its contents may be at odds with contemporary views and terminology. The information within this collection does not reflect the views of the Smithsonian Institution, but is available in its original form to facilitate research. For questions or comments regarding sensitive content, access, and use related to this collection, please contact