Lifestyles

Get your hands on traditional cedar bark weaving

Renowned Mamilikwilla Nation Artist Wayne Bell is offering a rare opportunity to experience a cedar pull and to learn basic cedar weaving. - Photo submitted
Renowned Mamilikwilla Nation Artist Wayne Bell is offering a rare opportunity to experience a cedar pull and to learn basic cedar weaving.
— image credit: Photo submitted

Cedar bark harvesting is an ancient and respected tradition amongst the first peoples of this area.

Archaeologists working on the coast have recovered artifacts made from cedar bark that are more than 3,000 years old. Clothing, mats, sails, canoe bailers, baskets, and rope were all made from cedar bark.

The Museum at Campbell River is offering a rare opportunity to experience a cedar pull and to learn basic cedar weaving with renowned artist and Hereditary Chief Wayne Bell.

On Saturday, April 26, participants will meet at the museum at 9 a.m. to travel to a forest site and participate in a two-hour traditional cedar pull.

Following the pull, participants will return to the museum to learn the basics of cedar weaving using the inner bark from the pull. Bell will demonstrate basic approaches to cedar weaving, using as examples roses, rings, bracelets, rope, coasters and simple baskets. This hands-on workshop will be held at the Museum from 2-4 p.m.

Bell’s Eagle Cedar Bark Mask resides in the Senate in Ottawa, Ontario.  He is from the Mamilikwilla Nation and is grandson to the late Outzistallis, Henry Jumbo Bell, great nephew to Mungo Martin, grandson to Kimkimkwadee, grandson to Abumpa Catherine Ferry (nee Glendale), and Mrs. Henry Jumbo Bell Adakwanees. Wayne is also nephew to the late Sam Henderson and May Henderson (nee Quocksister).

Permission to teach and harvest the cedar bark is given by Captain George Quocksister (Kwinkwolith) who was married to the Late Elizabeth Quocksister (nee Glendale).

Bell began weaving at the age of five with Henry Jumbo Bell. He then moved to Vancouver and began weaving again with his grandmother Katy Ferry and her brother the late Sam Henderson.

Bell has been teaching cedar bark weaving for 30 years in Vancouver School District and Campbell River School District. Bell has been a single parent for 11 years and his daughter Norine is following her father’s footsteps.

The cost for the day is $80 per person. Participants must come prepared with a lunch and wear clothing and footwear suitable for wet forest conditions. A hatchet is also recommended. Space is limited. Call the Museum at 287-3103 to register.

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