Contact: Gretchen Faulkner, 581-1904
George Manlove, 581-3756
ORONO — The annual Maine Indian Basketmakers Sale and Demonstration is scheduled at the University of Maine Dec. 13, offering the public a special opportunity to acquire Native American artforms from members of Maine’s four tribes, as well as learn about Maine Indian history and culture through demonstrations of basketmaking, carving and birchbark working techniques, traditional music and storytelling.
From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the UMaine Student Recreation and Fitness Center, more than 40 Maine Indian artists will display and sell hand-crafted fancy baskets and utility baskets, woven as they have been for centuries.
The recent closing of the Maine Indian Basketmakers Alliance gallery and shop in Old Town makes the annual basketmakers sale one of only three opportunities a year to see and purchase authentic, traditional baskets and Wabanaki art. The December sale event has been coordinated and hosted by the UMaine Hudson Museum for 15 years.
The sale and demonstrations are free and open to the public. It is one of the largest Native American gatherings in Maine and it typically attracts hundreds of people from throughout the state and New England, in addition to basket collectors from across the country, according to Gretchen Faulkner, director of the Hudson Museum.
“This annual holiday event features Maliseet, Micmac, Passamaquoddy and Penobscot basketmakers, who sell their hand-made, one a kind, ash splint and sweetgrass basketry here on the UMaine campus,” says Faulkner. Work baskets, such as creels, pack and potato baskets and fancy baskets ranging from strawberry- and blueberry-shaped baskets to curly bowls can be found along with porcupine quill jewelry, wood carvings and birch bark work.
Traditional foods served up by the Penobscot Nation Boys and Girls Club, music, traditional drumming and dancing, and demonstrations of brown ash pounding, basketmaking, carving and birchbark work all will be part of the day’s events.
More information can be obtained by calling the Hudson Museum at 581-1904.
A schedule of events follows:
9 a.m. event opens to the public;
9:30 a.m., a welcome with Penobscot Chief Kirk Francis and traditional greeting songs with Watie Akins of the Penobscot Nation;
10-11:30 a.m., a book signing with Kathleen Mundell author of North by Northeast: Wabanaki, Akwesasne Mohawk, and Tuscarora Traditional Arts;
10 a.m., brown ash pounding and work basket demonstration with Micmac Eldon Hanning;
10:30 a.m., a birch bark container demonstration and talk on maple sugaring with former Penobscot Chief Barry Dana;
11 a.m.-1 p.m., traditional foods, featuring hull corn soup, fry bread and blueberry desserts; Food sales benefit the Penobscot Nation Boys and Girls Club;
12 p.m., traditional Penobscot songs with Penobscot Kelly Demmons;
1 p.m., storytelling with John Bear Mitchell of the Penobscot Nation;
1:30 p.m., carving demonstration with Eric Sappier and Joe “Hugga” Dana, both Penobscots;
2 p.m., fancy basket demonstration with Stuart Tomah, a Passamaquoddy;
2:30-4 p.m., Burnurwurbskek Singers drumming, singing and dancing;
4 p.m., drawing for the Hudson Museum Friends Maine Indian Basket Raffle; this year’s basket is a traditional decorated birch bark container by Barry Dana, a Birch bark artist. Raffle tickets are $5 each and will be available the day of the event.
More information about the Hudson museum and its programs is available on its website (www.umaine.edu/hudsonmuseum).