Cultures come together in craft activity


    By Daniel Davis

    Children and adults learned how to make arrowheads, pottery, cordage and other ancient artifacts as they discovered the Museum of Peoples and Cultures Saturday, May 13.

    “Events like this teach tolerance and understanding of cultures,” said Marti Allen, museum director.

    “Studying history helps us find the common human thread — that we are all brothers and sisters.”

    The community of Provo has special needs because it is so homogeneous, Allen said.

    “Learning is the key to cultural tolerance, and learning comes with appreciation. People are intolerant because they don’t know about each other or because they fear the unknown,” she said.

    The museum hosted the event to help celebrate Prehistory and Heritage Week.

    Cassie Pate, a local craftsperson, believes the event helps her understand her personal history.

    “It is like going back to your roots. My great grandmother was a basket weaver,” Pate said.

    People don’t realize how much work goes into particular articles of clothing or other items like baskets, Pate said.

    Wool and yarn-making demonstrator Tyra Pate said these things are our past.

    “It is like reading books, only you can’t smell or touch items on a page,” she said.

    Ramona Whaley of the Selnale International School brought several of her Japanese students to the event.

    “Learning about American history and culture helps my students integrate better into this society,” Whaley said.

    “Most foreigners have a Hollywood interpretation of America, but attending events like this allows these students to discover the American culture for themselves.”

    Having a hands-on experience also helps them retain vocabulary and make connections with other words and objects related to the English language, she said.

    Many crafts do not change much across cultures.

    A lot of these skills and crafts are common among most cultures, but different techniques define each, Whaley said.

    Allen believes cultures may merge together through education.

    “Maybe our cultural paths are different now, but in the future we may walk the same road,” Allen said.

    Charmaine Thompson of the Uinta National Forest Service discussed cultural findings of rock art.

    “Symbols are powerful and invoke a lot of meaning,” Thompson said.

    Each culture or each tribe had different symbols, but they all tell stories.

    “Even though we don’t know what the symbols mean, we still respect and admire them”, she said.

    “We can recognize similar symbols across different tribes, which shows we are all on the same wavelength.”

    We are all humans here, and we should celebrate our differences, Allen said.

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