Clarissa Rizal: Alaska Native Artist Blog

Accentuating Tlingit Traditions

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Chilkat Weaving Laws of Old (or in modern terms, “Taboos”)

March 20th, 2013 by Clarissa

Close up of “Jennie Weaves An Apprentice” Chilkat robe by Clarissa Rizal completed 2011 – It is part of a series of Chilkat robe designs by Clarissa featuring a Chilkat robe within a Chilkat robe – the green and blue is to delineate between apprentice and teacher, the past and present, the present and future, Raven and Eagle clans

Jennie Thlunaut taught me several Chilkat “laws” or guidelines for weavers and weavings.  This day in age we would call them “taboos” since most of us modern folk do not (or will not) honor the laws of old – most modern folk think that following the “old ways of thinking and doing” no longer applies to us today.  Some of us folks say that they want to follow the ways of our people, yet when it comes right down to applying those old teachings, or when it comes to honoring the elders and their guidelines, we choose to ignore.

Chilkat weaving has a strong spirit.  Jennie tried hard to explain these things to me.  I was young then.  I am young still, however, in my experiences as an active weaver, I have come to know many things of the unseen, and I see why the Chilkat laws of weaving apply today even as they did 100 years ago…the ways of the physical reality may change, the ways in how we live may change, yet the ways of spirit do not.  I have experienced that when you apply these teachings, any or all, no matter what goes on in your life, positive and negative, there resides a strong, steady “rudder” serving as a guide of the straight and narrow path – and you will recognize all the good things that have been placed in your path – kind of like a path of righteousness.

In the next blog entries towards the end of March into April, I will list some of the Chilkat weaving laws, for both the weaving and the weavers.  You as a weaver, can decide for yourself which laws may apply to you.

Thank you for staying tuned.

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