Indigenous: How To Weave a Cedar Bark Cuff (Bracelet)

About Cedar Weaving

Cedar is a well-known symbol of the Northwest Coast. For thousands of years, coastal First Nations in British Columbia have versatile wood in many aspects of their lives. Not only is cedar a key natural resource in the production of material goods, but the tree also plays an integral role in the spiritual beliefs and ceremonial life of coastal First Nations.

Cedar is an ideal material for protection, and use of it in garments can be traced back to many First Nations that still reside in present-day British Columbia. When cedar becomes wet it expands and creates a waterproof seal. This is particularly helpful in the frequently damp climate of the Canadian west coast.

Supplies

  • red inner cedar bark
  • tabletop leather lace cutter
  • jerry stripper
  • scissors
  • needle and thread (optional)
  • button or bead (optional)

Instructions

Step 1
Harvest red inner cedar bark off a live tree in the spring. Let it dry for one year in a cool dry place. 

Step 2
Soak raw cedar bark for approximately three hours 

Step 3
Process the cedar using a tabletop leather lace cutter (Jerry Stripper), cutting it into strips.

Step 4
Soak processed cedar for about 20 minutes in cool water. After soaking, you should be able to cut it with scissors. Keep the cedar moist while weaving. 

Step 5
Prepare two strips of cedar to use to make the cuff. The first strip should be approximately 22 inches long. Split it in half about 10 inches down the strip. The second strip should be ½ inch wide and about 1 metre long

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Step 6
Roll the end of the first strip to form a circle that can fit over your hand. Clip it with a clothespin. 

Step 7
Weave the second strip through the circle and tighten. Fold the bark over the edge of the circle and through the circle on the next row.

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Step 8
Make a checkerboard weave by alternating over and under for each row.

Step 9
When the end is reached, thread the second strip inside the circle under the first fold and trim. Weave the ends into the first row, then tighten and trim.

Step 10 (optional)
While the cedar is still wet, you can add a button or beads using a needle and thread. 

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Artist: Patti Williams 

Learn more about cedar bark weaving by Haida weaver and teacher Giihlgiigaa Tsiit Git’anne.

 

Be sure to post your results on social media using the hashtag #SurreyFusion and tag @surreybcevents.

About Indigenous Peoples of Canada

The history of Indigenous peoples in Canada is rich and diverse. This history stretches long into the past before the arrival of the European newcomers with diverse interactions among different peoples, flourishing trade and fierce conflict, and competition for lands and resources. The history of First Nations, Inuit and Métis is essentially the very history of Canada as they have played, and continue to play important roles in its development and its future.

Culture

Indigenous people have lived in the area now known as B.C. for more than 10,000 years. They developed their own societies, cultures, territories and laws. When European explorers and settlers first came to B.C. in the mid-18th century, the province was home to thousands of Indigenous people.

Today, there are approximately 200,000 Indigenous people in British Columbia. They include First Nations, Inuit and Métis. There are 198 distinct First Nations in B.C., each with their own unique traditions and history. More than 30 different First Nation languages and close to 60 dialects are spoken in the province.

Food

Indigenous food in particular is considered very Canadian. Métis in Canada played a particularly important role in the origin of Canada and Canadian cuisine. Foods such as bannock, moose, deer, bison, pemmican, maple taffy, and Métis stews such as barley stew are all either traditional Indigenous foods or originated in Canada with roots in Indigenous cuisines, and are eaten widely throughout the country. 

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