Edwards gifts proceeds from her book to Greater Leavenworth Museum to support p’squosa (Wenatchi) exhibit

LEAVENWORTH, Wash. – It was a surreal and special moment for Colville tribal member Julie Edwards.

She paused for a few seconds looking down at the display case, trying to talk it all in.

What was inside of the case you might be wondering? The hand-weaved baskets that she had worked on for hours and hours to complete.

“I’m in absolute awe,” she said with a big smile.

Edwards made the trek out to Leavenworth this past Saturday (Dec. 4) from the Grand Coulee Dam area and was able to see firsthand the new changes to the First Peoples Exhibit where the museum had just installed a new exhibit of story baskets, by Edwards.

“Just wow, that’s pretty amazing,” she expressed seeing her collection of eight baskets being displayed as one of the many exhibits at the Greater Leavenworth Museum.

“What an amazing display, so beautiful and awesome,” said Colville Confederated Tribal Business Councilwoman Alison Ball. “Art, especially basket weaving, represents generations of social and cultural resiliency. Baskets are our heirlooms of our past and present and future.”

“Baskets are so significant and meaningful for our families and tribe. Thank you for bringing recognition and pride to our tribal community. When you do something wonderful, the wonder ripples back to our community threefold.”

For Edwards, her story baskets are the result of a one-year apprenticeship with fellow Colville tribal artist and master basket weaver Joe Fedderson. The Native Arts and Cultures Foundation funded the Mentorship.

“That was amazing getting to work with Joe,” said Edwards. “I learned so much from him. That was one of the other really cool things about being Joe Fedderson’s apprentice, I got to go to these cool library openings and museum openings and got to meet all the fantastic curator people.”

The Funding of this exhibit was made possible through the generous donation pledged from Mara and Brian Bohman and Gro Buer and Bruce Williams.

Edwards's book Weaving; Baskets and Stories, will be available in paperback at the Museum store next month where the proceeds from the sales of her book are being donated to the Greater Leavenworth Museum to help support the p’squosa (Wenatchi) exhibit.

“Thanks for being a great leader and artist of our Tribe,” said Colville Confederated Tribal Business Councilman, Dustin Best. “So proud of you and what amazing work and also the relationships you have built in the Leavenworth area.”

Edwards a descendant of the Wenatchi, Moses-Columbia, Entiat, Nez Perce, and Yakama tribes loves the idea that she’s able to help give back.

“I wanted to find stories from people who had stories who were told to them as a kid and then I wanted them to be permanent somewhere,” said Edwards. “I have grandkids now and it's always fun to be able to tell them a story and then say to them that’s the story that my grandma told me.”

The publication of her book is made possible through the Woods Family Music and Arts Grant, received through the Community Foundation of North Central Washington.

Edwards grew up on the Yakama Indian Reservation with her grandmother, Lucy Pe-el Saluskin. It was her grandma who encouraged Edwards to learn the cultural and traditional ways of her family. Her grandmother told many of the stories represented in her basket stories to her.

After serving in the United States Marine Corps, Edwards worked for the Colville Confederated Tribes Natural Resources as an enforcement officer. In 2016, she was named “Cultural Role Model” of the year by the Colville Confederated Tribes.

Edwards story basket exhibit is just the first step in the Museum’s plans for expansion of the First Peoples exhibit.

The Greater Leavenworth Museum is a 401(c)(3) non-profit organization, committed to the collection and preservation of the rich heritage and history of the people and events that helped shape Leavenworth & the Upper Valley.

The Museum is located at 8th Avenue and Front Street in downtown Leavenworth, on the second floor at 835 Front Street. They’re currently open Friday-Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and the exhibit is free to Colville Confederated Tribal members.

The Baskets on display

Below are short condensed stories of the nine different baskets, with nine of their own stories also.

                                         Soap Lake Story

“…when a man or woman died, one of their unmarried siblings would step up and take up the deceased sibling’s responsibilities. … but when the young man told the widow of his intentions to fulfill his obligations, the widow became angry. She said that she would not accept the ugly skinny brother and back into the teepee. …”

  To read the full story in Weaving; Baskets and Stories.

 

                                                 Prayer

Creator,

Clean our ears so we hear the truth.

Clean our eyes so we see the truth.

Clean our mouths so we speak the truth.

Touch our hearts so we know the truth.

Thank you,

That is all.

                                      The Salmon Story

“Back when the animals could still talk and the humans had only been here for a short while, the salmon were in such an abundance that you could walk across the Columbia River on their backs. When humans arrived, the salmon people gave them a few rules they must follow to respect the gifts that the Salmon gave to them. …”

  To read the full story in Weaving; Baskets and Stories.

 

                                             The Loon Story

“Loon was a handsome Indian man who was in love with a beautiful Indian girl. The girl’s grandmother did not approve of the young man. Grandmother told her granddaughter she couldn’t love that man because he had spots on his body. …”

  To read the full story in Weaving; Baskets and Stories.

                                              Fox & Coyote

Creator asked Fox and Coyote to come to the top of the mountain, he wanted to talk to them. It was a long trail to the top of the mountain. They went through the sagebrush and the pine trees, and after a while, they came across a huge field of ripe huckleberries. Coyote told Fox, “You go ahead, I will catch up with you later,” Oh Coyote wanted to eat some of those ripe huckleberries. …”

  To read the full story in Weaving; Baskets and Stories.

  

                                   Black Bear and Grizzly Bear

“… A long time ago Coyote had two wives, One was Grizzly Bear and the other was Black Bear. Grizzly Bear was always angry and was always in a hurry, and she was jealous of Black Bear. Both Black Bear and Grizzly had two cubs from Coyote. ...”

To read the full story in Weaving; Baskets and Stories.

 

                                           The Rock Story

“… She told me that there was a time and a place for anger. Then she pointed at the rocks and told me that rocks had been here a long time and that they were good secret keepers. She told me that right now it was time for me to clear my mind and my heart of anger, so I needed to put my anger in the rock until it was the right time to bring it back out and deal with it. …”

 To read the full story in Weaving; Baskets and Stories.

 

                                            Another One

“One day two coyotes spotted one another and the first one said, ‘Hello, my name is Coyote.’ The other one said, ‘You can’t be Coyote, that’s my name.’ They argued for a while, then the first one spotted an encampment of Indians below. He thought of a means of settling the dispute. …”

To read the full story in Weaving; Baskets and Stories.

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