Suquamish Tribal Elder, Ed Carriere talks about his craft with Hillside 7th and 8th graders

Thursday, November 17th, 2011 was a beautiful Fall day for the Washington State History field trip for Hillside’s seventh and eighth graders. Directly after 1st period, Sherrie and Karen loaded up the kids in the van and we were off to the catch the Bainbridge Ferry. The city views were spectacular. Once off the ferry we drove to Indianola to the Suquamish Indian reservation to meet with Suquamish tribal elder Ed Carriere.

Ed is a master carver and weaver. We were invited into his home where he sang us a welcome song and then showed us his collection of various styles of baskets from those woven with whale baleen, to cedar bark baskets to his favorite, the clam basket. Ed explained that he got the materials for weaving his baskets directly from nature, and showed us how he processes those resources and weaves them into beautiful, useful baskets. Next, he detailed the process for canoe making, complete with carefully carved models of every step of the procedure which takes about a year to complete.

Our trip ended with a walk to his “welcome house” on the beach shoreline, with beautiful carved posts and modern native decorations. Then we got a tour of his canoe, which is a real working boat, housed in his garage on a boat trailer. Time flew and before we knew it, it was time to head back to catch the ferry. We arrived back at Hillside just in the nick of time, each of us a little richer for having spent time with the sage tribal elder, Ed Carriere.

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