Learn How to Make Traditional Native American Bark Basket Workshop At Institute for American Indian Studies

Native Americans have created baskets for centuries. In fact, archeologists believe that basket-making is one of the oldest known crafts in the world. If you have always wanted to learn how to create a bark basket of your own, join this in-person workshop conducted by Jennifer Lee of Pequot and Narragansett ancestry on Sunday, June 5 at the Institute of American Indian Studies located on 38 Curtis Road in Washington, Connecticut. This four-hour workshop begins at 11 a.m. and has a break for lunch.

Join artist and educator Jennifer of Lee, Narragansett descent

About Native American Baskets

Baskets have been an integral part of Native American material culture for centuries. Native American baskets range from very simple to very elaborate. Often the art of basket making was passed down from generation to generation among Native American Indian mothers to their daughters. It is a skill that takes the place of pride among many Indigenous people today.

Bark baskets made by Eastern Woodland Indians were used for cooking, gathering berries, hauling water, storing food, as cradleboards, and even for burying the dead. Most often baskets were made from pine, ash, or birch bark that was harvested in the spring when the bark was most pliable. The bark was then folded into the desired shape and sewn with spruce root and rimmed with arrowwood or other natural materials.

White Pine Bark mokok with collar (4 ½H x 7W x 3D)

About the Workshop

Jennifer Lee is an 18th-century re-enactor and material culture presenter. Bark basket making is one of the programs that she offers. “I want my programs to dispel old stereotypes and increase awareness of present-day Native Americans,” says Lee.

Participants in this workshop will learn about the lore and tradition of basket making from Lee while creating their very own bark basket. A highlight is learning about how baskets were used in everyday life and their role in Native American communities today. Lee will guide participants through the process of creating a bark basket using white pine bark, spruce root, and willow. During the scheduled lunch break (please bring your own snack and non-alcoholic beverage) participants can wander through the museum for inspiration and brainstorm with others for ideas.

White Pine Bark mokok with collar (7H x 4W x 3D).

Participants can choose from three different basket designs that include a white pine bark wall pocket, and two sizes of a white pine bark mokok with collar. Whatever basket you choose to make, it is something unique to treasure at the end of the day.

Space is limited for this workshop that is expected to sell out, so sign up early. To participate, please register and pre-pay by June 2. The cost of participation, including all materials and tools, is $75 for members of the Institute and $85 for non-members. To register click here. If you have questions call (860) 868-0518 or email events@iaismuseum.org.

White Pine bark wall pocket, curved bottom (7H x 7W x 4D)

About the Institute for American Indian Studies

Located on 15 acres of woodland acres the Institute For American Indian Studies preserves and educates through archeology, research, exhibitions, and programs. They have a 16th c. Algonquian Village, Award-Winning Wigwam Escape, and a museum with temporary and permanent displays of authentic artifacts from prehistory to the present that allows visitors to foster a new understanding of the world and the history and culture of Native Americans. The Institute for American Indian Studies is located on 38 Curtis Road, Washington, CT.

Docktails & Oysters @ Norwalk’s Norm Bloom & Sons A Special Event Hosted by the Seaport Association

Who doesn’t enjoy hors d’ouves, cocktails, and oysters on the dock? It is a veritable summer tradition in Norwalk and one that the Seaport Association has embraced. Back by popular demand, Docktails & Oysters is the Seaport Association’s signature event on the dock at Norm Bloom and Son, a fourth-generation oyster farm in Norwalk. This seaside, fun-filled event for gourmands is taking place on Saturday, June 4, 2022, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

This Luau-inspired party will get you in an “aloha state of mind” as you see folks in brightly colored Hawaiian shirts, listening to live beach music, sipping cocktails, and slurping the freshest oysters you will ever taste! “It’s a chance for folks to get to know what the Seaport Association does, have a little fun, and experience an authentic oyster farm,” said Mike Reilly, President of the Seaport Association.

If you have never had oysters, literally fresh off the boat this is an unforgettable opportunity to eat your fill of them – our advice is to come hungry! It’s fun to watch the pros shuck the oysters before your eyes (they make it look so easy) and set them on trays with lemons and an assortment of sauces. In addition to the unlimited clam and oyster bar, this Luau-themed event also offers passed and tabled appetizers such as citrus grilled shrimp, house-smoked pork sliders, and blackened swordfish tacos with pineapple salsa, vegetable spring rolls, and black bean and corn salad, in keeping with the island vibe.

An added bonus is the opportunity to explore the dock at Norm Bloom Oysters and Son, one of the few remaining traditional oyster farms in the United States to learn how oysters are grown and harvested. The oysters are incubated under the dock and, when they are big enough, they are “planted” on the sandy bottom of the Sound that surrounds you. The result of this time-consuming and meticulous process is some of the best oysters you will ever taste. Norwalk oysters are prized worldwide and known for their sweet briny flavor and plump meats.

Tickets to this event are limited and are $75 online and $85 @ the door. For more information and to get your tickets http://www.seaport.org, if you have questions, call 203-838-9444.

About the Norwalk Seaport Association

The Norwalk Seaport Association was founded in 1978 by a group of local citizens who had the vision to revitalize South Norwalk and preserve Norwalk’s maritime heritage. The Seaport Association offers a cultural, environmental, and historical journey to the Norwalk Islands. The Sheffield Island Lighthouse and the Light Keeper’s Cottage provide a unique historical and educational venue that strives to increase awareness, appreciation, and consideration for the environment and how the preservation of historic buildings contributes to our quality of life. The combination of the Lighthouse and the Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge offers an unparalleled opportunity to educate children of all ages and adults about the importance of preserving Long Island Sound, our environment, and our maritime heritage.

Norwalk’s Sheffield Island Gets Ready For Summer 2022

Sheffield Island Lighthouse located off the coast of Norwalk has been renovated and maintained by the volunteers of the Seaport Association since 1978 so that summer visitors taking the Association’s ferry to the island can enjoy its’ unspoiled natural beauty. The outing to Sheffield Island is one of the most popular activities in Connecticut, not only because of the thrill of being out on the water but also for the chance to tour a historic lighthouse on the National Register and, explore a private island.

Expect a warm welcome on Sheffield Island

Seeing how beautifully maintained the island is, it begs the question, what goes into opening Sheffield Island for the season? The short answer is a lot! Linda Cappello, a long-time Trustee on the Executive Board has taken on the task of putting together a team of volunteers that get Sheffield Island ready for summer guests that take the Seaport’s ferry to it. “The first thing I do is visit the island prior to putting together a work party to see how the island and lighthouse have weathered the winter. I have to access if there are any particular concerns that need to be addressed in addition to the routine tasks that have to be accomplished each year before we open,” Cappello said. “I inspect the interior and exterior of the lighthouse and grounds to determine what tasks need immediate attention, as well as those that require eventual attention.”

On the initial trip to the Island, the work party spends about five hours cleaning the place up. Tasks like cutting up fallen limbs, painting picnic tables, cutting down all seagrass, and weeding the pathways are just some of the many things to do. Lighthouse tasks are a bit more challenging. All the windows, that were boarded up have to be uncovered, the gutters and downspouts have to be cleaned and checked for damage, the tower has to be checked, the lighthouse rooms have to be cleaned, and the furniture and displays polished and set -up for the season. The work party, consisting of 20 to 25 volunteers will go out to the island several times before Memorial Day Weekend in order to make sure everything is in tip-top shape.

Cleaning up the Brick Memorial Walkway in Front of the Lighthouse

When asked, why she organizes this seasonal pilgrimage, Cappello says, “It is my passion. I have cruised the waters of Long Island Sound and the Norwalk Islands for as long as I can remember. My father introduced me to the Sound when I was a child, and I have loved it ever since! If I could live on the Island I would! As for our volunteers, and we always welcome the help, just contact us. I think it offers them a unique opportunity for a good cause, especially if they have a love for Norwalk’s maritime history and Long Island Sound,” Cappello concluded. The work of course doesn’t end there. Throughout the summer season, the lighthouse has to be cleaned, the grass has to be mowed, and the shells along the pathways have to be maintained, along with a myriad of other tasks to keep Sheffield Island and Lighthouse welcoming for visitors.

This year, the Seaport Association is offering a sunset cruise on Thursday, May 26, Friday, May 27, Saturday, May 28, and Sunday, May 29 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. A cruise to Sheffield Island is scheduled for Saturday, May 28, and Sunday, May 29 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Special bird cruises departing at 8 a.m. are scheduled for Sunday, May 15, and Saturday, May 28 and Sunday, May 29. Beginning in June sunset cruises will run from Wednesday to Sunday and three-hour cruises to Sheffield Island and Lighthouse will run on Saturday and Sunday. Starting June 28, cruises to Sheffield Island will run twice a day, Tuesday – Sunday at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. The vessel does not offer cruises on Mondays. For tickets and more information http://seaport.org.

Passengers are asked to arrive 30 minutes prior to departure. The vessel leaves from the Seaport Dock on 4 North Water Street in Norwalk. The dock is adjacent to the Stroffolino Bridge at the corner of Washington and Water Streets in South Norwalk. Parking is available at the adjacent lot or at the Maritime Center Parking Garage across the street from the dock. Tickets are available online in advance by clicking here.

Getting ready to welcome summer visitors

About the Norwalk Seaport Association
The Norwalk Seaport Association was founded in 1978 by a group of local citizens who had the vision to revitalize South Norwalk and preserve Norwalk’s maritime heritage. The Seaport Association offers a cultural, environmental, and historical journey to the Norwalk Islands. The Sheffield Island Lighthouse and the Light Keeper’s Cottage provide a unique historical and educational venue that strives to increase awareness, appreciation, and consideration for the environment and how the preservation of historic buildings contributes to our quality of life. The combination of the Lighthouse and the Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge offers an unparalleled opportunity to educate children of all ages and adults about the importance of preserving Long Island Sound, our environment, and our maritime heritage.

Blocks of Hope and Healing Participate in a Community Quilting Project Institute for American Indian Studies

The Institute for American Indian Studies has just announced a new quilting project for the month of May called “Blocks of Hope and Healing.” This community-quilting project is a way to support and bring attention to the MMIWG2S epidemic. MMIWG2S is an abbreviation for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and 2-Spirit People, respectively.

Quilting serves as a testament to heritage and history, with each piece offering encouragement and solace. Quilts connect us to the world around us and are often symbolic of hope and comfort by providing physical and emotional warmth. The concept of this community-made quilt will be used to honor and remember the plight of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, and 2- Spirit People.

The Institute is inviting the public to become part of this important global movement by participating in two Quilt Workshops on Saturday, May 14, and Sunday, May 22 @ 11 a.m. that will be conducted by Education Director, Director Darlene Kascak (Schaghticoke Tribal Nation). If you don’t have much experience sewing, no worries, Kascak, will be there to walk you through the process. If you don’t complete your quilt package during the workshop, you can complete it in the comfort of your own home as long as you return it to the Institute by Wednesday, June 1, 2022.

All participants in this project are asked to make a $25 donation to the National Indigenous Women’s Rights Council (NIWRC). The Institute will give all participants a quilt block packet, complete with all necessary materials and instructions for creating your section of the community quilt. Please call (860) 868-0518 or email events@iaismuseum.org to reserve your section on this community quilt, sign up for one of the quilting workshops, or if you have any questions about this initiative.
Donations to NIWRC can be made at the following link: https://www.niwrc.org/donate.

About MMIWG2S
MMIWG2S refers to initiatives intended to address the ongoing violence and continued genocide of women, girls, and Two-Spirits. Each year thousands of Native American women and children go missing or are found murdered in the United States and Canada. Gaps in data make the true scope difficult to estimate, but some sources suggest that the total number of cases may approach 10,000.

About The Institute for American Indian Studies
Located on 15 acres of woodland acres the Institute For American Indian Studies preserves and educates through archeology, research, exhibitions, and programs. They have a 16th c. Algonquian Village, Award-Winning Wigwam Escape, and a museum with temporary and permanent displays of authentic artifacts from prehistory to the present that allows visitors to foster a new understanding of the world and the history and culture of Native Americans. The Institute for American Indian Studies is located on 38 Curtis Road, Washington, CT.

Drum Making Workshop @ the Institute for American Indian Studies

Rhythm and sound are important to just about every culture around the world. Throughout the Americas, indigenous peoples have been using drums as part of their culture for thousands of years.

If you are asked to think about Native American music, there is a good chance you will think of the sound of drums, but did you know that the drum is considered to be a living and breathing entity to Native peoples and symbolize a strong relationship with the creator?

On Sunday, March 20 the Institute for American Indian Studies, located at 38 Curtis Road in Washington, Connecticut is hosting an in-person drum-making workshop, with sessions at 11 a.m. and at 2 p.m.

The highlight of this workshop is to learn how to make your very own rawhide drum. The drums made in this workshop will be 14- inches in diameter and constructed of a traditionally used material, elk rawhide. Each drum will come with a drumstick. While creating a drum for their own personal use, participants will learn about their cultural significance, and how they remain a vibrant part of today’s indigenous cultures in the Americas.

Space is limited for this workshop and pre-payment and pre-registration is required. To register online, please visit the Museum website to register via Eventbrite. If you have questions about the workshop, please call 860-868-0518 or email events@iaismuseum.org. The price for this workshop is $90 for IAIS members and $110 for non-members.

Learn How to Make Native American Leather Pouches @ Institute for American Indian Studies

A Sunday afternoon is the ideal time to learn how to make your own leather Native American style pouch on October 17 @ the Institute for American Indian Studies. This in-person small group workshop has been organized in one-hour time slots from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Under the guidance of the museum’s Education Department, you’ll learn how Native Americans used leather for clothing, pouches, bags, and other items of daily life.

Native Americans historically used leather pouches to carry many of life’s necessities. Pouches were made from a variety of materials, some were woven, and others were made from the hides of different animals, most commonly deer.

Sign up for a workshop that is both educational and engaging, as you learn how to make your very own unique and practical leather pouch that you can decorate with buttons, stones, and shells. After you have completed your project, you may find that you have a newfound appreciation for the artistry that went into making some of the artifacts in the museum’s collections.

Sign up with your friends and family to reserve a timeslot by clicking here. For questions call 860-868-0518 or email general@iaismuseum.org. The cost of participation including materials is $25 per person for non- members and $20 for members.

About the Institute for American Indian Studies
The Institute for American Indian Studies preserves and educates through discovery and creativity the diverse traditions, vitality, and knowledge of Native American cultures. Located on 15 acres of woodland IAIS is home to permanent and temporary exhibits, nature trails, and a replicated 16th century Replicated Algonkian village. During the school year, over 7,000 school-age children visit for hands-on programs to learn about the Indigenous people who have called Connecticut home for thousands of years.