Weaving Class During Celebration in Yukon

Gwen Wally from Teslin finished her Ravenstail headband for her uncle just moments before he danced!

Gwen Wally from Teslin finished her Ravenstail headband for her uncle just moments before he danced

We were all so happy again to cram ourselves into setting up the “weaver’s cabin” on the shores of Lake Teslin during the bi-ennial “Haa KusTeYea” Celebration.  The cabin has wonderful light, natural air conditioning, feels simply rustic and is accommodating to the number of weavers who come from around the territory.   During the three days together, it is a good feeling to see weavers who brought projects that had been sitting on the loom that they wanted to finish, OR they started a new project.


Clarissa demonstrates Jennie Thlunaut’s unique fingering to Kassua, a young budding Ravenstail weaver from Carcross

Most of the women who are want to learn to weave are middle-aged or older; they are the ones whose families are all grown up and no longer they have responsibilities of taking care of others to the degree  that they had been.  Every now and then we will have a youngster in her early 20s who is not yet married nor with children.  However, this time, we had a 10-year-old girl named Kassua Dreyer who mother and she enrolled in the class.  Mother and daughter students are always a plus in that they can each teach and reinforce one another as they learn both in class and at home.


Vanessa Morgan from Kincolith on the Nass River, B.C. begins weaving a Chilkat “ghost face” bag

Dedicated returning students such as Vanessa Morgan, Alice Tidell, Diane Knopp, Ricky Tagaban and Gwen Wally are always appreciated by us teachers.  Every now and then new students’ bravery joins us like Doris and Kassua Dreyer and elders like Mary L. Lekanof.  We know that they sacrifice their time, energy, and money to be here learning more each time.  It’s inspiring to watch them as I too am reminded of how I once was when pursing the weaving of Chilkat.


Once again the class resumes its natural position in the small cabin at the Teslin Cultural Center on the shores of Lake Teslin, Yukon Territory. For the past three “Haa KusTeYea” Celebrations, we have been gathering And every year there is always a new group of weavers, and sometimes the old diehards return (i.e. Vanessa, Ricky, etc.).  L to R: Diane Knopp, Vanessa Morgan, Alice Tidell,  Doris and Kassua Dreyer (and Kassua’s friend), and Mary L. Lekanof


From Carcross, Yukon Doris Dreyer figures out the bunch-berry design!


Ravenstail weaver, Alice Tidell from Sitka, Alaska holds the Ravenstail bag she began weaving which we transferred from a borrowed headboard to an alderwood stick whittled by James Crippen


With a Chilkat/Ravenstail robe started in the background for the Teslin Cultural Center, Lanugage instructor and assistant professor at the University of Alaska Southeast, Lance Twitchell is freed for a moment from daddy duties allowing weaver Ricky Tagaban to hold Lance’s newborn babe.


Diana Knopp from Whitehorse, Yukon tries to remember where she is at in her weaving


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