Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Tahoe Expo 2014: Washoe culture at Lake Tahoe

The 2014 Tahoe Expo presented by Sustainable Tahoe took place Labor Day weekend at Sand Harbor and around Lake Tahoe.  

Cultural Presentations:

+John Hara, chairman of the board for Sustainable Tahoe said this of the event:
Washoe arrowheads
"I'm out here today at Sand Harbor for the Tahoe Expo and I happen to be standing in the middle of the Washoe gathering, or, as they call it, a lakelelup.  What is going on here is that we have the Washoe, who have come out here and done a number of cultural demonstrations that ranged from showing flint knapping for arrowhead making through basketweaving and showing how to make ropes out of milkweed and just a number of different arts and crafts that normally aren't shared with the general public.  And it's a wonderful opportunity for families who are out here on the beach to wander by and take a look at this and experience something different because the Washoe are so willing to share this year."

Washoe artifacts including a Bikush, arrowheads, and a clapper stick for traditional music
Washoe tribe representative Tawana said: 
"I'm voulnteering today for the benefit for the Washoe cultural center.  I have some artifacts here that are a lost art.  So, now you're looking at different arrowheads.  The sizes are based on what kind of game they were looking for at the time.  So, of course, the little tiny ones are for things like rabbits and squirrels and we go bigger when we're looking to get coyotes and bears and that kind of things.  And this is a water basket covered in pine sap to make it waterproof so that we can transport water.  So, the baby basket or the Bikush is a way that we could carry our young around on the long walks to carry water or get food, and it kept the babies out of the way.  And I'm here today because we need to raise some money to get our building built... We've got our land and we still need to get the building built so come out and join us and help us finish the museum."

+Jacquie Chandler, executive director of Sustainable Tahoe was most impressed with the cultural presentations:  "we're here at the ramada at Sand Harbor, which is one of the places that they gathered in the fall and in the spring on their way back down into the valley.  Their gatherings many times were called Lakelelups. "Laka" is Washoe for ONE, so it means "Gathering of the one."  so we're here celebrating washoe culture and learning from the first stewards of Lake Tahoe" She said, "I was able to make a milkweed rope into a bracelet and I learned this from Justin, who was one of the demonstrators over at the ramada, I also helped put a galeth-dungel together, this cedar fort here right behind me.  This is how the Washoe people would build their winter forts down in the valley." 


Mary Youngblood and Sana Christian perform at the Tahoe Expo.  
John hara went on to describe the entertainment: "So, the Lakelelup is taking place in the morning into the afternoon and we're really excited because in the afternoon and evening we have the Shakespeare Theater which is probably one of the most beautiful venues in the world.  It's right here on the lake and we have a number of performers including 2 time Grammy award winner Mary Youngblood who is going to be playing flute and a number of other artists who, I would say, come from a school of indigenous inspired celebrations."  

You can learn more about the Tahoe Expo entertainment lineup in +julian forest's pre-event interview with +Tahoe Onstage  or click here for the full playlist of All Tahoe Expo 2014 videos if your browser doesn't support embedded playlists.

Sand Harbor Scenic Gallery

Click here to see the full Sand Harbor Scenic Gallery on Google+ if you can't see the pictures.

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