Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Tuscarora Tuesday

Welcome to my very first edition of Tuscarora Tuesday!

I'll try not to bore you with too much text, but I think it is important to tell you a bit about the Tuscarora Nation. They are one of the 'Six Nations' of the Iroquois Confederacy and are located in Niagara County, New York.

During the War of 1812, the Tuscarora men assisted US General Peter B. Porter. They even went so far as to rescue him after his capture by the British. As it turned out, General Porter's family owned all the land adjacent to Niagara Falls, and as a gesture of gratitude, granted the Tuscarora women the exclusive right to sell their beadwork along the rapids of the Falls - forever.

Of course, all good things never last, and the US Government changed their minds and currently the only way a Tuscarora beader (be it man or woman) can sell their art along the Falls is by being lucky enough to obtain one of five permits, issued under a lottery system. Ah yes, bullies are everywhere, aren't they?

Anywho, let's get to the beads! There is so much to talk about, but I will just mention a few tid-bits each week.

The Tuscarora adorned their pieces with nature inspired motifs. I love this one because it has that sweet little owl. He looks a bit concerned to me-a little sad, almost.
The center of the flower features a very popular technique. They call this a 'birds nest.' Perfect description, don't you think?
Clear glass beads are the most prominent in their work. I understand this may be because of the popularity of lace during the same time period, and these pieces were made to be a sort of 'beader's lace.'

The beads appear to be size 11, with the only other shape being those tube beads, which in upcoming Tuesdays, you will see how often they show up in their art.

If you have any questions, please ask and I'll do my best to find the answer for you.

Bead Happy and Often!

7 comments:

Carol said...

Hi Lynn
I don't really have a comment, but I just wanted you to know I am following your Tuesday posts and am very interested to know about Tuscarora beading.
XX, Carol

Gypsy said...

Thank you for sharing this..their story is so poignant. My DH works on the Qualla Boundary, the so-called 'rez' of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee, and it is sad to see visitors buying so much cheaply China-made crap, and ignoring the stores with locally made beadwork, basketry and stonework.

NemVal said...

It's a very nice piece. And I'm glad to read about Tuscarora beading, too.
Thanks a lot!

Craftymoose Crafts said...

Wonderful intro to Tuscarora beading. It is such an interesting technique & I love the symbolism in these pieces!

Robbie said...

Thanks for providing this info! I've always been interested in Native American work/beadwork (our LR is in southwest/native american decor!). Very interesitng!!! Thanks again!

MyThoughtsMyVoice said...

One thing about blogs is you get to learn something new. Thanks Lynn. It's my first to hear about the Tuscarora tribe. And it is always interesting.

With you love for beads and admiration for these amazing people who have created these, I can only imagine how overwhelming it must be to be able to attend that lecture.

Speaking of owls, you know it seems like a number of blogs I have encountered (here and there :-) ) have a love for the creature. :-)

Mizpah,
Li

(your 6th picture post sounds like fun. I think I'll go see what my 6th picture and join in too :-) )

Blage said...

I have a piece that was given to my great-great grandmother very similar to this. She was a teacher on a reservation, although I am not sure where. Can you tell me how to authenticate this piece as Tuscarora. She was from eastern NC, but not sure where she went to teach.