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Chilkat/Ravenstail Weavers’ Gathering in Whitehorse

February 10th, 2013 by Clarissa

Hans Chester (in the background) brought out a Chilkat robe in a protected container to show to the 2003 Chilkat Weavers’ Gathering of 2003 including, L to R: Shgen George, Catrina Mitchell, Pat Walker, the late Elaine Etukeok, elder Bessie Coolie, Yarrow Vaara, Darlene See and Liana Wallace – July 2003

I am happy to announce a Chilkat/Ravenstail Weavers’ Gathering in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory held during the fabulous Adaka Festival at the new Kwaan Lin Dun Cultural Center on the Yukon River June 21-26, 2013.  The Festival program includes:  a gallery exhibition, artist demonstration tent, traditional and contemporary Indigenous music and dance, fashion, workshops, cultural presentations and more.  Festival coordinators are currently working on this year’s line-up however you may check out last year’s information on the week-long Adaka Festival on their website at:   http://www.adakafestival.ca/

Clarissa Rizal and Darlene See – the best part about the Weavers’ Gatherings is the sharing of laughter…it’s real good Chilkat medicine!

The Chilkat/Ravenstail Weavers’ Gathering is a wonderful venue where weavers from all levels of skill congregate to share in techniques, tricks-of-the-trade, establish life-long friends and gain spiritual and emotional support just by being together!   Past Gatherings have been held in Hoonah, Juneau, Sitka, Haines, Alert Bay, Prince Rupert, and Pagosa Springs.  We are excited to be hosted in Whitehorse.  Chilkat and Ravenstail weaver, Ann Smith, Wolf Clan of the Kwaan Lin Dun people in Whitehorse, will be our local weaver  “ambassador.”

Ann Smith begins weaving a Ravenstail robe while a Navajo weaver looks on – she is demonstrating weaving at the Heard Museum’s Indian Art Fair & Market – March 2003

The Gathering  will be held in the Cultural Center’s Elder’s Room kitty-corner on the left from the main hall where all the festival performances will be held.  The room is all glass allowing an ample amount of natural light.

The Adaka Festival Co-Executive Producer, Charlene Alexander is very excited about hosting the Weavers’ Gathering as part of their festival activities this year.  Currently, Charlene is working on finding a large house where all of us may stay, and/or depending on number of participants, she will find locals who are willing to host us.  However, if you need your space and privacy, there are several hotels and motels available, and I would suggest you book sooner rather than later.

As in the past, each weaver is responsible for their transportation to and from the Gathering.  If you want grant assistance, applications for Alaskan residents may be obtained at the Alaska State Council on the Arts and the Rasmuson Foundation are due in just three weeks this coming March 1st.   Also the New England Foundation for the Arts’ Native Arts Program has a travel grant with the stipulation that they must receive your application 2 months before travel date.  It’s a fairly simple application and these people are helpful and generous.  (In the past four years, I have applied and received this travel grant twice.)  Because I am not Canadian, I am not familiar with the Canadian grants available, but I KNOW they are out there!  Please do whatever it takes to help one another out in attending this wonderful Festival and Gathering!

If you are traveling by car, think about  coordinating your travel plans with other weavers, just in case several of you want to car pool a drive from Haines or Skagway up to Whitehorse or a carpool from British Columbia.  Spread the word about this Gathering!

You may take part for the entire week, or just for a few days or weekend – it’s up to your time and dime.

Bring whatever project you have on your loom, however, if you do not have a project and would like to begin one, gather your materials together to begin one.  At past Gatherings, there is always someone who will assist you.

I will be conducting a weaving workshop during the Adaka Festival; I will mainly focus on teaching beginner students, however, if you want to brush up on your skills or obtain tricks-of-the-trade, you are welcome to attend.

If you need warp to begin your new project, you may place your order with me; I formed the Warped Bank, a team of people who spend part of their time spinning Chilkat and Ravenstail warp!!

If you have any questions about the Adaka Festival, please contact Charlene Alexander – her email address is:  calexander@northwestel.net

If you have any questions, suggestions, concerns, etc. about the Weavers’ Gathering, please contact me via email at:  clarissa@clarissarizal.com

I know many of us have time constraints due to jobs, family, fishing, etc.   Just remember, you are not required to attend the Gathering during the entire week of the Festival; you may attend for a day or two if that is all your schedule allows.

We look forward to seeing you at the Gathering and Festival!

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