14.02.2015

Indian traditional medicine for asthma

Mask maker Allen Long (1917-1983) was the son of Will West Long (1870-1947), Cherokee medicine man and an authority on Cherokee cultural traditions.
Long’s preferred mask-making material was buckeye, a wood that is soft and easy to carve.
Allen Long was a member of Qualla Arts and Crafts Mutual and sold most of his work through their storefront outlet.
Winter Dances were perfomances with masked dancers that danced to create an illusion of death. The Northern groups such as the Tlingit, Haida and Tsimishian are Matrilineal meaning that descent from generation to generation is reckoned through the female line only. He made traditional bear masks, painting them black with red dye surrounding the eye holes. The grain of buckeye is prominent and Long used this variation in the grain to give expression to his finished pieces. He did not carve full-time because, even though he was a successful artist, he thought he would have a hard time making a living by selling his work. Different groups have different traditions, stories and myths about various topics ranging form the change of the seasons to stories about creation.
The people of the Northwest Coast were succesful warriors becuase of their excellent seamanship skills and their well defended forts.


He selected trees and cut them along Bunches Creek, and at times, purchased wood from others.
Still, his masks were a sought after item and he demonstrated his prowess by consistently winning awards at the annual Cherokee Indian Fair. These smaller potlatchs were held when an important person experienced a humuliating moment like falling out of a canoe. The weapons and armour the warriors carried included a war dagger,bow and arrows, spears, wooden helmets and breastplate, and a thick warcoat made form sealion or elk hides. The Kwaitul are Ambilineal meaning that descent is reckoned through the Male line OR the Female line. After the couple had their first child the wife paid back the husband the equal amount of what he paid and could leave him or stay with him. The women would do household chores such as cleaning, cooking, and taking care of the children. Primarily, Long used buckeye to carve his masks and finished them by staining them with shoe polish, a technique he used instead of the traditional red clay stain which was not permanent.
He used buckeye and groundhog skin to make a number of masks, but departed from tradition in the finish of his work. In 1975, the co-op honored him with an exhibition, producing a brochure titled, Allen Long: Cherokee Mask-Maker.


Religion is a very important part of the culture of the natives of the Northwest Coast.
They used rattle to summon powers from spirits and went into trance to communicate with the spirits. Potlatches were occasions at which a cheif could demonstrate his wealth by giving gifts to guests.
In 1975, the Indian Arts and Crafts Board and Qualla Arts and Crafts Mutual honored him with an exhibition of his work.
Where his father used red clay and wild root dyes to color his masks, Allen Long used shoe polish to create a dark finish. The brochure included an interview and pictures of thirteen masks, including booger masks, buffalo masks, bear and wildcat masks.



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