YOMBA INDIAN RESERVATION – Pomo tribal member and veteran long walker Mark De Anda taught dreamcatcher making and hair stick beading classes for members of the Yomba Shoshone Tribe. In addition to gathering communities for presentation and collecting information about drug abuse and domestic violence, the Longest Walk 5.2 gives back to the communities it visits by cleaning up and teaching classes. They also participate in activities the local tribes have, i.e., willow picking and bark stripping for basket-making.
“I’ve learned a lot from Mark tonight,” said Valerie Bill, coordinator for the community’s Drug and Alcohol program. She proudly stated, “I’ve learned how to make a dreamcatcher, my very first one. And it’s beautiful. He’s a perfectionist, so he’s going to make us perfectionists too. I learned a lot.”
“I had a good time,” said Mark. “It was fun. They made me laugh all night.”
De Anda is a Pomo walker, from Big Valley (Mission Rancheria). He creates all sorts of Indian arts and crafts, specializing in beadwork. He started beading when he was 14 at Johnson O’Mally Summer Youth Program at the Intertribal Friendship House in Oakland, California in 1975. He has created cradleboards, six-way dream catchers (hoops inside hoops at 90 degree angles), custom fit moccasins, and other items. Mark has been beading for more than the last 40 years. He teaches a beading class at the Tulley Boat festival on his reservation. He has taught beading to students in a Suicide Prevention class. Mark said he does this because it is “every beader’s dream to bring other beaders into this world, I love teaching. Beading itself is soothing and brings me to another world where creativity is born.”
When there is downtime on the Longest Walk, Mark teaches people of all ages how to bead. “There’s no secret to this work. I’ve been doing it for so long and I made all the mistakes for everybody. We’re just trying to get some activities up in here and hopefully they can pass it down to the other generations and the youth. And maybe we can make a little bit of difference out here.”
The classes seem to be a hit. “Last night we beaded til 1 am. And this morning, some of the participants called at 7 am to see if we were still here.”
Special appreciation to Stephanie Dodaro for assistance.
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This BBSNews article originally appeared on Native News Online.