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Siletz guests to attend Maori weavers’ gathering

Press Release for Immediate Release
19 October 2005

Siletz guests from USA to attend Maori weavers’ gathering

Three important indigenous guests from the Siletz Tribe in Oregon, USA will be guests of Te Roopu Raranga Whatu o Aotearoa (Weavers New Zealand) and Toi Maori Aotearoa (Maori Arts New Zealand) this week.

Agnes Baker-Pilgrim, in her 80s, is a revered elder of the Siletz Nation, Takelma band, in Oregon, USA. Agnes is the Chair of the International Council of 13 Indigenous Grandmothers, an international organization of indigenous women who seek global peace and environmental justice.

She is known internationally as an advocate for peace and indigenous issues, and is renowned for her leadership as a Native American educator, traditional practitioner, and source of inspiration.

Bud Lane and Robert Kentta are members of the Siletz tribal council, in Oregon, as well as being weavers and artists.

This is a landmark visit for them to meet with Maori artists and tribal leaders.

“They are travelling a very long distance to connect with Maori artists and cultural leaders and to engage with us” says Garry Nicholas, General Manager of Toi Maori Aotearoa. “The presence of these particular individuals is a momentous and special occasion, and a very rare opportunity to meet with Agnes Baker-Pilgrim” he added.

The three visitors will attend the Weavers National Hui, in Waitara, Taranaki (21 – 24 October 2005) to meet with Maori weavers and will be met and personally hosted by Rangitihi Tahuparae, who is also kaumatua to the House of Representatives, in Parliament.

They will then travel with Rangitihi Tahuparae to visit Maori communities on the Wanganui River.

A group of Maori weavers and artists, including Rangitihi Tahuparae and Ranui Ngarimu (Chairperson of Te Roopu Raranga Whatu o Aotearoa), recently attended the opening of the “Toi Maori – The Eternal Thread” exhibition in Salem, Oregon. In this reciprocal visit, the three Siletz visitors will be meeting with Maori weavers and artists from 21 – 27 October 2005.

ENDS

Brief biographies as follows:

Bud Lane, Jr.
Bud is currently the Vice-Chairman of the Tribal Council of the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians, an elected position. He is also a Language and Traditional Arts Instructor for the Siletz Tribe. In addition, as an accomplished weaver, he is a board member of the Northwest Native American Basketweavers Association. Over the last two decades, Bud has been central to the renewal of Siletz ceremonies and arts. With his family, he played a key role in building a traditional-style cedar plank dance house as well as in the teaching of dance and ceremonial traditions to the younger generation. He has been the recipient of traditional arts fellowships from the Oregon Historical Society, among many other awards.

Robert Kentta
Robert is currently an elected member of the Tribal Council of the Confederated Tribes of the Siletz Indians. For many years, he has been the Cultural Resources Director for the tribe, and in that position has supported the return of many cultural treasures to the tribe. He has done broad research on museum collections, with the aim of learning and teaching Siletz traditional arts. He is an expert regalia-maker and weaver. With Bud, Robert was centrally involved in the building of a traditional-style cedar plank dance house, and participates in the teaching of ceremony and dance to the younger generation. Robert is actively involved in Native cultural affairs all over Oregon and beyond.

Agnes Baker-Pilgrim
Agnes (or Aggie) is an honored elder of the Siletz Nation, Takelma band and a granddaughter of Chief George Harney, the first elected chief of the Siletz Nation. Agnes is the Chair of the International Council of the 13 Indigenous Grandmothers, an international organization of indigenous women who seek global peace and environmental justice.

Agnes is an alumni of Southern Oregon University and has continued her involvement with the University through Konaway Nika Tillicum, a Native American youth summer program, and as the Elder Advisor for the SOU Native American Student Union. The Oregon Council on the Arts named her a "Living Cultural Legend." She is well-known in Oregon, throughout the USA, and internationally for her extensive community service and leadership as a Native American educator, traditional practitioner, and source of inspiration.

She has met with other indigenous peoples (including Maori of New Zealand, the Aborigines of Australia, and Native Hawaiians) to discuss cultural preservation, language, Native healing, and the arts.

Chosen by her tribe in 2000 as a living legend, she then proceeded to form an alliance of Thirteen International Indigenous Grandmothers in 2004. The 13 Grandmothers gathered all different directions, from the people of the Iroquois Confederacy; the Amazon Rain Forest; the Arctic Circle of North America; the Great Forest of the Amazon Northwest; the vast Plains of North America; the Highlands of Central America; the Black Hills of South Dakota; the mountains of Oaxaca; the desert of the American Southwest; the mountains of Tibet; and the Rain Forest of Central Africa.
Agnes says that she is very proud to be the chair of the Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers in their work for environmental, social and cultural issues. “We journey the world trying to preserve what we have here today. I feel very honored to be able to be with the Thirteen Grandmothers from around the world to be able to tell our nations that we have a right to gather the sacred medicines and end the violence against women and children.”

“We joined with all those who honor the Creator and to all who work and pray for children, for world peace and for the healing of our Mother Earth.”

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