I wore my basket cap on my wedding day for many different reasons, so let me tell you 6 of them!
First and foremost-I wanted to look my best on my wedding day! My cap is the most beautiful thing I own. It is aesthetically divine and I know the amount of work that goes into making a beautiful basket cap. A weaver must gather material all year, process it, go through and separate all the best pieces, and then weave; this can take well over a year to make. Anything that took that long to make-you can imagine its beauty!
Second: I wore my cap because it means so much to me. My Aunt Marilyn Delgado purchased my cap when I entered graduate school, she said this will be my motivation to finish and she is right. I wear my cap all the time, I wear it for ceremony, I wear it for presentations, I wear it when I am working on my dissertation, and I most certainly wore it on my wedding day. Someone wove their good thoughts and prayers into this cap, and I knew when I wore it on my wedding day there would be nothing but good things surrounding us.
Third: I wanted to have a mixture of both traditions at our wedding. My husband, Romeo Meza, is Big Valley Pomo and I am Wintu, Hupa, and Mexican. We incorporated different cultures into our ceremony. We also want our daughter, Whijay, to know that she comes from such amazing nations and to be proud of her heritage.
Fourth: My cap wanted to come! When we bought the cap, it was said to have come from the UC Berkeley Collection. It still had its’ metal tag and accession number attached. I removed the tag. I placed angelica root inside. I soaked it in water. And I told it that it had a home forever with me. And I wear it. It knows-it is living.
Fifth: My friend Cutcha Risling Baldy and Stephanie Lumsden both wrote pieces about why they wear Indian jewelry and why we have been “Blinging since Year 1”. Each tells why they wear it and I couldn’t agree more. I wore my hat, my elkbone hairpiece, abalone earrings, and my husband wore his pinenut, abalone, dentalium, etc. necklace because our ancestors knew how to look amazing!
Sixth: When people told me I needed to wear something old, new, borrowed, and blue; I quickly said my cap was old, my elk bone hair piece and dress were new, I borrowed my friend Chrissa Des Rosiers turquoise ring, and-welllll-something else was blue!
I could go on, but here is why I wore my cap on one of the most specialist days of my life! #BasketCap #SinceYear1
Hiestum! (Greetings) Vanessa is enrolled member of the Nor Rel Muk Wintu Nation and Chicana. She is a Ph.D. student in Native American Studies at University of California, Davis and received her BA in Anthropology and Ethnic Studies with an emphasis on Native American Studies at CSUS. Her focus is on Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), cultural patrimony, Native Americans in higher education and Native American language revitalization programs concerning Northwestern tribes.
The Northwest Coast Regalia Stories Project explores the life stories of cultural regalia pieces for Northwest California Native peoples. Read More...
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