Happy Holidays from Red Tail Woodworks!
As 2015 winds down I hope all of you can find some time to enjoy your family and friends over the holiday season! 2015 has been a good year for us here at Red Tail we've been busy. I want to thank all of you who have helped us make a difference in the lives of many in our community. Just look at the smiles on the faces of the Naya graduating class of 2015 and you'll see that your donations and support has made a difference. Each of these seniors went home with a box that will remind them, and their families of their accomplishment!
Here is a close up of one of the giveaway boxes I made for the conference. When I began working on this project I chose to inlay a Chinook style paddles on the boxes in an effort to honor and remember those who once called the place I now live home. Before Lewis and Clark "discovered" this land, the Chinook people had been living here for thousand years. Unfortunately around the mid 1800's, almost 90% of Chinook families living here were wiped out by diseases that came by English trading ships through Fort Vancouver.
I was inspired and taught some important aspects of Chinook life in and around the Columbia River basin by an amazing local Chinook-an carver by the name of Greg Robinson. Native cultures across America have suffered greatly and the historic trauma is still evident within our communities today. One of the most powerful moments of the conference came when a Native woman from Celilo stood up and spoke passionately about the pain of her people which was brought on by when the Army Corps of Engineers built the Dalles Dam and flooded Celilo Falls in 1958. "Please be gentle with our people...we are not ju lazy drunken Indians, we are human beings who have lost our way of life, we also lost our tribal recognition." It felt good to know that one of our Chinook-an paddle boxes went to her. Later in the day I thanked her for her powerful words and I also told her that the box she received was a made to honor and be a prayer for her and people. Most people today when they drive up I 84 they will see a small community of homes along side the river and never know that this was a sacred place for many tribes who would gather often to trade. I know Elders who were there the day they shut the dam gates at Celilo, and it took just over four hours for the water to cover over the falls. After that day, the Elders say, "The River went silent."
So as we turn into a new year what can we do together to remember, honor and help our Native community in a good way?
Here are some ways you can help us make a difference:
Consider making a financial donation, either one time gifts or monthly donations. We really could use help
coming January and February we will be hosting two Paddle Making workshops in partnership with Naya and Canoe Journey Family.