First Nation Crafts
First Nation crafts are steeped in traditional creative forms that once served both practical and decorative purposes. The First Nation aborigines have a respect for the earth and the spirits that has been taught to children from generation to generation. This respect is seen in the authentic crafts that reflect the world in which the tribes lived.
Saved By the Baskets
One of the First Nation crafts is a porcupine quill basket made with black ash. One of the legends involving baskets says the Creator told a tribal chief to have the people make baskets to save them from starvation. Others came along, the baskets were traded for food, and thus the people were saved from starvation.
When you look at the many different First Nation crafts you almost feel as if you can see the legends entwined in each object. Surely the dream catcher has held the dreams of the children in order to protect them from the bad spirits. The spirit boxes can hold wishes that the represented spirit can make come true.
First Nation crafts reflect the practical lives of people living in a harsh climate with a limited supply of materials and the glorious traditions that have endured for thousands of years. What are now crafts were once made by the hands of people who endured by keeping the animal guardian spirits happy.
In the First Nations traditional world, animals have spirits and when hunted the spirit must be honored. Moccasins made from animal hides were very special gifts from the animal world and were treated as such. When you look at First Nation crafts today, you can still see the loving care with which everyday objects are made out of respect for the natural world.
The First Nation legends are amazing stories of man and nature coming to terms with each other. The crafts made today were once made as a matter of survival. There are blankets, baskets and pottery which were used day to day.
Each piece takes many hours of work to complete. For example, the baskets require finding the right tree, stripping the bark, cutting the pieces for weaving, dying the pieces the various colors to be used in the basket and then finally weaving the basket.
But the First Nation crafts also include carvings, jewelry and bead work that incorporate designs and pictures based in legends while showcasing the talents of the artists. The crafts are as much artwork as they are crafts.
In fact, calling these items crafts when they took so much talent and time to make almost seems wrong. There is a very fine line between the First Nations art work and the First Nation crafts. The primary demarcation between the two is the fact that crafts served a practical function in First Nations lives many years ago and were not just made for aesthetic purposes.
If you are looking at First Nation crafts and are handed a talking stick that means you can talk for as long as you wish. When looking at First Nations crafts, what you will find yourself talking about is the craftsmanship in each piece.