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Justine "Tina" D. Aguilar - Wasco Traditional Artist
10 Mar 2013
Published To

Justine (Tina) D. Aguilar
Wasco Traditional Artist
Warm Springs, OR

“It is an art that the young ladies need to get back to before the tradition gets lost.”

Growing up on the Warm Springs reservation, Tina saw mothers craft cradle boards to carry their babies.  At 5 years old, Tina’s grandmother handed her a board to hold her doll. Wasco cradle boards consist of a wooden panel, fabric sides, hood and a bow that can act like a mobile. Tina began making cradle boards at age 14, but since she doesn’t like to follow patterns, her signature style ventures away from “traditional” forms as she innovates with new materials and interests. Her aim is to make each cradle board unique through decorations like velvet, beads, paint and crocheted fabric. To Tina, a cradle board is a child’s house: “like somebody is hugging and holding them all the time.”

Tina also makes wapas or corn husk bags used for collecting and storing roots or berries. Wapas are a symbol of honor in Wasco tradition and are often given as gifts during cultural events or memorials. She leaned to make these bags in her late 30s as an apprentice through the Oregon’s Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program. She has since become well known for the lapel pins she makes to put on wapas. Her hope is to pass on this tradition to the next generation and “have them feel confident enough to venture out and teach others.”

Justine (Tina) D. Aguilar was an apprentice for Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program in 91-92 and 96-97 and a Master Artist awardee for 98-99. For more information about traditional arts in Oregon, visit the Oregon Folklife Network at ofn.uoregon.edu.

Oregon Folklife Network:

Making a meaningful difference in Oregon communities by empowering our tradition-keepers to pass on their skills and knowledge.

Culture Education Rural/Regional Folklore Women Folklife Craftsperson Native American Oregon Folklife Network Pacific Northwest Rural Oregon Tina Aguilar Traditional Arts Wasco
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