Traditions of Coast Miwok, other local Native American tribes shared at festival – Marin Independent Journal
Sky Road Webb, 44, quickly twirled an elderberry stick in his hands in front of a crowd watching them.
In Kule Loklo of Point Reyes National Seashore, a recreated Coast Miwok Native American village, Webb attempted to start a fire in a small “wuki kotcha” – or fire station.
With violent rotations of the stick on a cedar plank, small jets of smoke emanated from it.
Within minutes, hot embers were placed on a packet of dry Spanish moss and medicine; and with a few encouraging breaths from Webb, a fire was started at the sound of the crowd’s wonder.
The traditions of the Coast Miwok and other local American Indians were celebrated on Saturday at the 36th annual Big Time festival.
Residents from across the Bay Area ventured out to learn the customs of the local American Indians, including creating a fire, reciting prayers in thanks for the land and its resources, and traditional dances.
Dean Hoaglin, organizer of the festival and descendant of the Coast Miwok and Pomo tribes, said the event is a way to pass on the traditions of the indigenous peoples of the region.
âOur ancestors wanted us to continue not only with the culture and traditions, but also the values ââthat come with them, and to share and teach them with others,â said Hoaglin, a resident of Santa Rosa.
After the âwuki kotchaâ was lit in the center of where the participants gathered, Hoaglin, 49, recited a prayer. He explained to festival-goers the need to share words and prayers.
âWe want people to know that we are still here,â he said. ” We are always here. We are not in a museum.
Althea Castellucci, 6, watched the rituals in amazement. The Daly City resident asked her parents to take her to the festival after learning about Native Americans at school.
She was drawn to indigenous culture because of its customs, she said.
âShe loves the outdoors, so she really loves it,â said Tony Castellucci, Althea’s father.
Not far from the place where a traditional dance took place, in gratitude to the deer and the food they provide, the weaving of baskets took place.
San Rafael resident Salina “Sally” Sherlock’s fingers danced as she wove a basket of aged sedge and redbud branches, adorned with dark beads.
Sherlock, an 86-year-old descendant of the Muscogee Creek tribe in Oklahoma, learned the art of basketry over twenty years ago. She learned from a woman who belonged to the Pomo tribe in north-central California and who has since passed away.
Skill is essential to impart, Sherlock said.
âEverything is so contrived these days,â Sherlock said. “Thinking that you can make something beautiful out of something you get from Earth is important.”