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Haskell Indian art market features tradition, artistic expression

Sights and sounds of American Indian culture make the market a unique experience and are unveiled in performances and artwork

The art market brought hundreds of artists to Lawrence to sell their wares and participate in a celebration of American Indian traditions. Many of the artists were inspired by ancestors in the creation of their products.

At the 18th annual Haskell Indian art market, large white canopies covered the powwow grounds where nearly 200 Native American artists from across the country gathered to sell their work.

Hundreds of people congregated under the tents at the outdoor market to view or purchase the works of art that celebrated Native American customs and cultures.

Several Haskell students also shared their culture with the public by performing traditional dances.

The rattling of several hundred jingle cones accompanied the pounding drum and the wail of men as Kylene Denny stepped into the circle. Wearing a dress laden with elaborate bead work and coated with conical adornments fashioned from chewing tobacco lids, she performed the jingle dance. The dance originated when a medicine man, who was unable to cure a girl in his tribe, received a vision telling him to have her perform the healing dance.

Rebecca Jamison, Haskell junior, also danced. She and Denny said they thought of the good things in their lives when they dance.

In addition to the performances the market showcased art work that reflected a respect for life, nature and animals, and included pottery, paintings, woodwork, clothing and jewelry.

The Haskell volleyball team and other student groups also participated in the event by helping out. Don Cardinal, co-chairman for the event, said the market was a way to showcase the university and bring many different artists together.

The artists work was inspired by the traditions of their ancestors that were passed down to them through the generations.

Inez Toya learned the art of making pottery when she was just a girl from her grandmother.

“She gave me a little mud and asked me to start forming it,” Toya said.

Toya began selling her work when she retired from her job at a nursing home. Like her grandmother taught her, Toya used pumpkin gourds to mold her clay. She collected special black rocks from the mountains near her home in New Mexico, which she mixed with seed weed to make black paint, and soaked orange clay for three days before straining it to get red paint. She used individual strands from a yucca plant to paint intricate designs on her vases and bowls. Her designs included hummingbirds, which symbolize love and beauty and turtle shells, which symbolize long life. She also uses arrowheads in her designs.

Painter Lynn Burnette was also inspired by a grandparent. His paintings tell the stories his grandfather told to him as a boy. One painting, “Taking Away Their Power,” showed two Indians carrying the American flag. Burnette’s grandfather told him that Indians use to carry the flag away when they defeated an army.

Like many of the artists, Burnette makes a living traveling to markets to sell his work, although he said it’s tough sometimes.

Rose Reano said it is important to make unique work. She makes jewelry and mosaics in a prehistoric style the way the Hohokam Indians did, using sea shells for a base, and geometric designs. She learned to make jewelry from her parents, who used to make necklaces using melted down batteries and vinyl records.



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