Andre Cramblit: Give thanks to ancestors for their courage

Andre Cramblit. Photo from From The River Collective

Andre Cramblit, a member of the Karuk Tribe, shares more about the culture of tribes in northern California:
The basis of the religion of the local people relies on individula effor through ritual cleanliness and ceremonies that include the entire tribe. The Tribes of this region practice the annual World Renewal Ceremonies, such as the Karuk Pikyavish, the Tolowa Nee-dash, the Hupa and Yurok White Deerskin Dance and most Tribes perform the Sacred Jump Dance. The purpose of the ceremonies is to renew the world or “fix the earth," as one tribe described it. Four countless generations, the songs and dances of this ceremoney have been preserved. Most of these rituals are considered to have a connection with medicine. Medicine included not only that which was administered to cure sickness, but anything: root, herb, plant or bark that is used to promote physical, mental and spiritual health. One our most power medicines is known in the dominant society as angelica root. The Brush Dance is both a community event and a healing ceremony in which the people of the local Tribes dance, sing, make medicine and pray in order to bless or heal a sick child or infant. The dance takes place in a Brush Dance pit, and it involves men, boys and young girls. The herbal healing ceremony includes singing, chanting, rhythmic dancing around the medicine fire in the pit and jumping center to confront the evil or sickness. The spectators seated on benches around the pit, also pray and help in the spiritual treatment of the child.

Native people from this region excel in basketry. Weaving and use of baskets has always been a main element of the cultures of California tribes. Our baskets are of the twined, woven type and are tight enough that they can hold water for cooking. These tribes make a wide variety of baskets for daily use such as baby baskets, collecting vessels, food bowls, cooking items, ceremonial items and we also make basket caps, which are worn by both women and also men, of open weave.

Get the Story:
Andre Cramblit: Fix the Earth With the Sacred Jump Dance (Indian Country Today 11/12)

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