Feather Box Workshop offers traditional teachings 2-18-16
Joseph V. Sowmick - February 29, 2016
In an effort to provide bonus coverage, Team Observer was on location February 17-18 at the Elijah Elk Conference Center as the Seventh Generation Program offered a Feather Box Workshop to the Tribal community. Seventh Generation Cultural Representative Ben Hinmon operates the wood shop where most of the finishing activity took place and shared teaching on why feather boxes are an important method of storing the Migizi Miigwans (Eagle Feathers).
“I made my first feather box about 25 years ago when I was on the powwow trail with a friend. He invited me over to his workshop and he showed me the proper way to do it and I’ve been making them ever since,” Hinmon said. “The designs have changed over the years where I used to use nails and screws to assemble the cedar boxes. The boxes we make today are 100% without nails and 100 % glued and it makes for a light but sturdy box.”
Hinmon shared with workshop participants that the Migizi Miigwans are sacred objects and cedar is one of our sacred medicines and that we treat the feathers with the proper reverence when storing them.
“Cedar is widely known by the Anishinaabe as a protection medicine and it is also used for purification. One of the most common problems that people have when storing feathers are dust mites … and dust mites sure love feathers,” Hinmon said. “When the feathers are in the cedar boxes, mites don’t care about the cedar in particular. I like to look at this workshop where people were making medicine boxes.”
A full story on the Feather Box Workshop will be featured in an upcoming edition of your Tribal Observer.