Donna Cranmer will give a Brown Bag Lunch presentation on Tuesday, October 22, at 12:15 pm. Her talk, entitled “Kas’ida’asa san’s Galga’lis/The Path of our Ancestors,” will discuss the utility of museum collections for weaving and other contemporary First Nations traditions.

Cranmer writes: “Visiting museum collections is one of the most inspiring visits a traditional weaver can make. The old pieces can teach so much. There was a time in the history of our people that our Potlatch and cultural ways were outlawed, our old people went to jail for practising our traditions, and many of the teachings stopped for a time. Our people believe that the Creator gave us our Gwayilelas, our way of doing things, and these ways are a continuation of a time when our supernatural ancestors were here on this earth.

The songs, dances, and stories carried on even during the dark years of the Potlatch prohibition. The art of working with cedar bark was only remembered by a few people. Visiting collections today teaches us ways that cedar bark regalia was put together. Recently my partner Anthony Hunt and I visited the neckring collection in the Royal BC Museum and learned anew some of the old ways our ancestors created these important pieces of regalia. Today, we continue to follow in the footprints of our ancestors.”

Donna Cranmer is a master weaver of international renown. She is ‘Namgis from Alert Bay, BC, of the Kwakwaka’wakw. Her great, great, great grandmother Mary Ebbetts-Hunt was a Tlingit woman from Tongass Island, Alaska, and was a Chilkat weaver. Her direct family lineage gives her the right to weave Chilkat and to dance these beautiful pieces in potlaches today. Donna received her BEd from Simon Fraser University and her MEd from the University of Victoria.