About 20 vendors gathered to sell art, jewelry, baked goods, holiday decorations and even muktuk Saturday at Haskell’s fifth annual Holiday Bazaar.
One vendor, Sharon Tah Romero, enrolled Apache, Ponca, Tonkawa, and Kiowa, has been an artist for decades.
She studied at Haskell Indian Nations University in the 1970s and now shares her experiential knowledge with other artists. She leads the Native and Indigenous Tribal Artists group, which was formed in April. The intertribal group is a place for Indigenous artists to learn and reconnect with traditional art, including making medicine pouches, beadwork, quilts and ribbon skirts.
The group meets at the Indian Avenue Baptist Church. The funds they earned from the bazaar will go toward supplies for the group.
Joel Hernandez, Navajo and Sicangu Lakota, learned to bead as a student at Haskell and helped start a beading club.
For Hernandez, beadwork is a way to share cultural knowledge and ways to be, it helps him reconnect with and continue his culture and express himself, and it’s therapeutic. His great-great-grandma, who lived to be 106, was a beader.
Tweesna Mills, Shoshone-Yakama-Umatilla Nations of Wyoming, Washington and Oregon, brought some Indian humor to the show in the form of her “Indigenous creatures.”
Mills made the Grogru/Baby Yoda “Indigenous Creatures” in response to the 2022 incident in which an ABC reporter misspoke and referred to Indigenous people as “Indigenous creatures.” Native social media immediately memed the mishap, many expressing that “we’ve been upgraded” from “something else” to “Indigenous creatures.”
She said she wanted to make these to “reclaim the negative and make it into a positive.” Mills added that “through our art, we express our artivism — activism through artwork.”
Kris Wilson, Akimel O’odham, learned to bead in the Haskell beading club while a student.
Learning to bead provided a path for healing and growth for her, despite initially learning artistic elements from tribes other than her own. She has grown as an artist and now has a distinct style.
Falonda Henry, Navajo, started beading a year ago. Her mother has since passed on, and she said she finds beading therapeutic. She finds inspiration in Diné basket weaving patterns and in fire colors.
Joey Tosee, Comanche and Kiowa, graduated from Haskell in 2018. After working as a firefighter and EMT, he said he finds creating art to be a therapeutic outlet for stress.
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Molly Adams (she/her), photojournalist and news operations coordinator for The Lawrence Times, can be reached at molly (at) lawrencekstimes (dot) com. Check out more of her work for the Times here. Check out her staff bio here.
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