New Blue Cabin Residents Janice and Buddy
In February the Blue Cabin welcomed two new residents Chepximiya Siyam’ Cheif Janice George and Skwetsimeltxw Willard ‘Buddy’ Joseph, both accomplished weavers and teachers from the Squamish Nation.
Chief Janice George graduated from Capilano University, North Vancouver BC, and the Institute of American Indian Arts, Santa Fe, NM, USA. She feels her education at these schools helped her excel as a teacher, adding to her most important traditional teachings. She is a hereditary chief, trained museum curator and educator. George also co-organized the 1st Canada Northwest Coast Weavers Gathering, with other Squamish Nation Weavers.
George and Joseph are from prominent Squamish families and have numerous ceremonial and cultural responsibilities in their community. Joseph is the former director of the Squamish Housing and Capital Projects and currently consults on capital projects for First Nations communities. Together they co-founded L’hen Awtxw Weaving House to share the teachings and practice of traditional Coast Salish wool weaving.
During their residency, George and Joseph were working on replicating a rare 18th century Coast Salish ceremonial robe. The creator of the robe is unknown, but the style of the robe reflects distinct Coast Salish aesthetics, which means it could have only been made somewhere in the Burrard Inlet, Vancouver Island, Squamish Valley, Fraser River or in Washington State.
The Blue Cabin Team and Other Sights are grateful to John Goodman from the North Shore News for this thorough article on Janice and Buddy’s residency project.
“These robes were probably the most valuable items of Salish material culture. Because it took many highly skilled carvers, spinners, dyers, and weavers years to make a single cloak, they were rare. Robes were made to be evocative and transformative. The owner of a robe gained status as well as social and spiritual power.” – Katharine Dickerson, “Classic Salish Twined Robes ,” B.C. Studies, 2016)
George and Joseph also were able to offer a couple of workshops before their time was unfortunately cut short due to Covid-19 isolation restrictions. This unique Coast Salish robe will not be completed back home on the North Shore of the Burrard Inlet.
Thanks to Janice and Buddy for sharing their knowledge and insight during the workshops, we look forward to viewing and sharing the completed robe in the coming months.