Wednesday, October 5, 2016

NW Coastal Indians

Tlingit tribe are an indigenous people of the Pacific Northwest Coast of North America. They have their own language called Lingit, Meaning "People of the tide". Their culture and society developed in the temperate rainforest of the southeast Alaska coast.


The four house posts are among the oldest in Alaska. This is a N.W. Coastal Indian Tribal House. Long ago Indian people lived in houses like this with their grandparents, aunts, uncles, parents and brothers and sisters. What would that be like?  What do you see? The Coastal Native Americans were famous for their carvings. Look for the TOTEM POLES. Totem poles are the largest, but not the only objects that coastal Pacific Northwest natives use to depict family legends, animals, people, or historical events. If you were from out of town and saw your clan’s crest atop the totem pole, you could go up to the house and be welcomed in.

Again, look for the totem poles.What shapes do you see on the house? (Ovoids (egg shape), U SHAPES) Why do you think it’s called a PLANK HOUSE? The indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest, made houses of cedar planks. 

Art is part of the Native American’s everyday life. What type of art do you see in this picture? 


This double mask has a raven on top with a hinged beak.The lower part represents a man’s face. Note the colors; white, red, black, yellow and green. Remember all the colors were made with things from nature. Often masks were seen by firelight and were very dramatic. Masks are a way of making the supernatural world visible. They are worn to heal the sick, drive away disease causes and for religious ceremonies. Since the Coastal Indians had no written language, masks were passed down and helped to serve as a “history book” by telling a certain story.


What animals are represented in this totem pole? What colors are used? How do you think totem poles were made? They cut down a tree, drew the design using TEMPLATES and then carved them.  They were painted last.


Every tribe made canoes in a variety of types and sizes.They all shared basic features; they were carved of red cedar, double ended with fine lines and the hulls were steamed into their final forms.


This box is about 200 years old. Notice the OVOIDS (eggshape) and U SHAPESWhy do you think it’s called a Bentwood Box? What might go in it? (food, tools, special blankets, masks etc.) They are often handmade from a single plank of cedar that is steamed and bent into shape.


What do you think they might have used woven baskets for?


What animal do you see on this hat? What do you think it might be made off? (woven roots, woven grasses)

The name derives from the Chilkat tribe in Alaska on the Chilkat RiverChilkat weaving is one of the most complex weaving techniques in the world. When making this weave, it is made from top to bottom instead of side to side.  A Chilkat blanket can take a year to weave. Traditionally mountain goat wool, dog fur, and yellow cedar bark are used in Chilkat weaving. Today sheep wool might be used. 
Chilkat blankets are worn by high ranking tribal members on civic or ceremonial occasions, including dances. Notice the fringe on the bottom. During the ceremonial dance it is made to sway!


Each tribe/ culture has different customs about how and when blankets may be used. All Blankets have the same rectangle shape. There are boarders on three sides, but not the bottom.  Button blankets are very special and are worn in ceremonies. They are made of wool. If there is a CREST on the back of the blanket, the person has inherited the right to wear it. What is the CREST on these blankets? The buttons are often made from Mother of Pear.

School Year~ 2016-17

Excited for Art lit for this School year!! 

The artists/projects for this year are..

West Coast Native American Art (cultural), Escher, Monet and Chagall. 

We will start with Native American art and we have obtained donated wood to do a totem pole project.