Before one harvests cedar bar, the weaver says thank you to the spirit of the tree for the gift it is sharing. One might give thanks with a song prayer, and/or offering. Harvesting of the materials is not a seperate act and is part of the whole; an annual spiritual ceremony of the weaver. This ceremony commemorates and acknowledges the gifts of the earth.

Only parts where the tree is healthy, are harvested.
Yellow cedar are found in the higher elevations, whereas red cedars are found at lower elevations. Most cedar harvesting is done in remote areas, where the areas are populated with brown bear, so armed guards accompany the harvesters.

To minimize the impact, and in respect for all life, cedar bark is harvested before the sap run is active. Only a fraction of the tree is used, so that it will recover.

An Elder and I harvest yellow cedar bark every year during the spring months. She taught me how to properly take the bark w/out taking too much from the tree. We do not harvest all year round and never go back to the same area or an area that has already been stripped. Red Cedar is not as abundant in the northern part of Southeast as it is in the Southern part. We trade for red cedar , our baskets can be a mixture of both.

While harvesting
yellow cedar , we take the thick outer bark off first. Then we scrape off a thin reddish outer bark until we have reached the yellow bark used for our baskets. This process must be done soon after, and it takes about 5 –7 days to complete depending how much was harvested. After we finish scrapping, we begin to cut the bark to about a 3-inch width then we split the bark and put them aside in a dry place for 2 years to “cure” before we can create a basket.

Cedar Bark Uses
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Bark and Roots
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Tlinget Spirit
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Tlinget in Alaska
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A native basket is not merely a few handfuls of roots or bark, rather, it is the living evidence of centuries of tradition, a song made visible. Just as one cannot learn to weave unless they first learn the songs, the language, the ways of one's ancestors. Understanding the cultural moorings of one's students, is the essential foundation for teaching the essence of the art, as it relates to lived experience. A skill without the roots of one's journey through live, is no better than a robot.

Basket makers weave their identity into their baskets. Forms, designs and techniques of a basket, indicate the tribe, and the makers individuality. This individuality is not lost when ownership changes or when the artist ceases to be amoung the living. It is spirit in form, or form of the spirit.

Phone number 907 957 9589

Contact email at: pamcredo3150@gmail.com
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