Artisans of all skill levels are welcome to attend the crafts classes at the Cultural Heritage Center during the 2022 Annual Family Reunion Festival. This year, in-person instruction returns to the CHC and will be offered for: bandolier making; beaded Tribal pins and bolo ties; hand drum making; shawl applique and fringe; beaded lanyards; moccasin making; chokers; and beaded bracelets.

Seats are limited, so attendance is on a first-come, first-served basis. For the classes on making hand drums, moccasins and shawls, individuals who purchase the kits at the CHC are guaranteed a seat.

“There are several of the classes where we have a three-hour time period slated for it. But the actual activity only takes about an hour,” said CHC Director Dr. Kelli Mosteller. “As people finish up and leave an empty seat, others are able to come in and fill a seat.”

This format allows both experienced artisans and first-time crafters to complete the project on their own schedule.

“For example, a bandolier, depending on how fast you string (beads) and how decisive you are in your colors, you could do that in an hour or an hour and 20 minutes,” she said. “Or someone else who takes more time with it could spend two or three hours making changes, fine tuning, perfecting.”

The CHC opened in 2006 as a place dedicated to preserving CPN history. Time spent creating cultural items is instrumental in helping Tribal members understand their history, establish a lasting connection to their culture and celebrate their Tribal heritage.

Whatever the skill level, teachers are always available to answer any questions or offer input.

“We have enough help that if you have never (crafted) anything in your life, you’ll have enough help there to get you through,” Mosteller said. “If you’re more experienced, then you may just need to take the space and use the supplies and get a few pointers, and you can move ahead on your own.”

She said combining both beginners and experienced crafters and allowing people to work at their own pace has been successful.

“That’s why we’re really big on having so many seats and we try to keep those seats filled, so if one person has done this kind of thing before, they can breeze through the project and leave with a pair of earrings that they’re going to wear during grand entry that night,” she said. “If someone else has never done this in their life, it might take the whole three hours to get one pair of earrings. It’s very much open to any level of skill, any level of exposure to craft. And there will be someone there to help.”

With the return of in-person instruction this year following a two-year pandemic interruption, Mosteller expects high demand for classes.

The sessions are free, except for the moccasin, drum and shawl making. A charge of $40 covers the cost of moccasin making supplies. Shawl and drum making supplies are $35. Supplies may be purchased at the CHC gift shop.

For more information, check the schedule of events included with each Festival registration packet.