DianeMiss Minnie, thank you so much for allowing me to be here today to talk with you, it is an honour. You're a master weaver, and so famous, I'm very honoured. Thank you. Can you tell me how you started weaving?

MinnieOh, I started in 1975 when the Salish weavers were starting in Coqualeetza, and they needed a spinner to spin their wool, so they could dye and weave. There were quite a few elders that were doing it, and I started to pick up when I started to go there and take lessons. I wasn't sure of who was the instructor that was teaching some of us how to weave. Yeah, I went there and learned.

DianeHas this learning to weave enriched your cultural-

Minnie-yes, it has. We make a lot of blankets, we weave them, and the chiefs wear them on special occasions like they did in the early days. In the early days, it was made out of goat's wool, and they did a lot of trading with that.

DianeDid they capture the goats, and shear them?

MinnieNot really. As far as I could remember, the warriors used to go up the mountain and hunt, and they used to see the white material on bushes, and they gathered that and brought it down to their wives. And then they were trying, they washed it and tried to spin it, and they said they had a hard time doing it. So they mixed it with dog hair, and then they started to weave the blankets. And then they started to kill for their own use, and used the goats' wool for making the blankets, in the early days.

DianeThe designs that you use, are they traditional?

MinnieYes, everybody has their own. You can tell whose design it is if you come from a different place. They have their own designs.

DianeDoes each blanket tell a story?

MinnieYes, yeah.

DianeWould these be important stories, or would they just be-

Minnie-it's the family story. It's amongst the family. Whoever weaves the blanket, it's a family story that's on the blanket.

DianeDo you have any other members of your family who weave?

MinnieYes, my, Betty is learning, Betty has been weaving, because she used to work here. And Samantha wanted me to help her to start to fix the loom, and then the children started to weave on the loom, when I go up and visit them.

DianeDo you think more young people will take up weaving as-

Minnie-I believe so, yeah, I believe most of them will, because a lot of students come here to learn, and they like to pick on weaving, and see how it's done.

DianeThat's so exciting!


DianeWhat has it done for you personally?

MinnieWell, it's helped my children and keep up the traditional way.

DianeDo you wear any of your blankets yourself?

MinnieI haven't been able to make one for myself. I've made about 20 to 30 <Laughter> for other people. I'm doing one now for Cheam band, with a mountain goat on it, yeah.

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