Earlier today, we posted about the Arlee Celebration and Powwow held this past weekend on the Flathead Indian Reservation in western Montana. This coming weekend brings a new event, the Crow Skills and Trade Fair in the southeastern part of the state. Lorna Thackeray of the Billings Gazette uses this story, on one family’s beading tradition, as a preview.
Each row of tiny beads that Angela Hill painstakingly stitches onto leather carries a piece of her heart.
Generations from now, her children’s children and their grandchildren will marvel at the intricate patterns and precise lines of hundreds of thousands of beads she has lovingly fashioned into traditional Crow regalia for her family.
“My mother, Mary Bear Cloud, taught me,” Hill said at her Billings home as she sewed beads the size of the head of a pin onto a pipe bag for a relative participating in a Sun Dance later this month.
“All my family are beaders,” she said. “My mother is 80 and she still beads for her grandson.”
And Hill wants her 16-year-old daughter, Elonna Stewart, to carry the tradition forward.
“I don’t think she’s very interested yet,” Hill said, shrugging. “I want her to help me make her outfit. She has a jingle dress, moccasins and leggings. She wants fully beaded leggings now. We’re going to do that, too.”
She’s not pushing the pretty teenager too hard. Hill didn’t take up the art until she was in her mid-20s. Now she is one of the premier beaders in a tribe known for its skilled artisans.
That is why she is among the artists and craftsmen who have been asked to participate July 9-10 in the first Crow Skills and Trade Fair at Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area headquarters in Lovell, Wyo.
For more of the stories and also more photos about the Hills, as well as the fair schedule, click here.
Tags: Arlee Celebration and Powwow, Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area, buffalo post, Crow Skill and Trades Fair, Crow Tribe, Flathead Indian Reservation, Gwen Florio, Native American culture and tradition, Native American news