Mabel McKay

Mabel McKay

Weaving the Dream

Book - 1994
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University of California Press
A world-renowned Pomo basket weaver and medicine woman, Mabel McKay expressed her genius through her celebrated baskets, her Dreams, her cures, and the stories with which she kept her culture alive. She spent her life teaching others how the spirit speaks through the Dream, how the spirit heals, and how the spirit demands to be heard.

Greg Sarris weaves together stories from Mabel McKay's life with an account of how he tried, and she resisted, telling her story straight—the white people's way. Sarris, an Indian of mixed-blood heritage, finds his own story in his search for Mabel McKay's. Beautifully narrated, Weaving the Dream initiates the reader into Pomo culture and demonstrates how a woman who worked most of her life in a cannery could become a great healer and an artist whose baskets were collected by the Smithsonian.

Hearing Mabel McKay's life story, we see that distinctions between material and spiritual and between mundane and magical disappear. What remains is a timeless way of healing, of making art, and of being in the world.

"Wonderful, and urgently needed in these days of confusion over Native American identity and spirituality. . . . Vibrant testimony to the survival of American Indians and the power of the old spirits."--Leslie Marmon Silko

"All the lean wit of a Castaneda tale, the lyric spark of the Black Elk translations, Weaving the Dream is a modern-day Indian classic."--Kenneth Lincoln, author of The Good Red Road


Blackwell North Amer
Mabel McKay's baskets cannot be separated from her Dreams, for it is through them that she learned to weave and to heal. A world-renowned Pomo basket weaver and medicine woman, Mabel spent her life teaching others about the culture she helped to keep alive and the Dream world in which she lived. But to understand Mabel's life, one must understand the way the spirit speaks through the Dream, the way the spirit heals, and the way the spirit demands to be heard.
In this wise book, Greg Sarris weaves together stories from Mabel's life with an account of how he tried, and she resisted, telling her story straight - the white people's way. Greg finds his own story through his search for Mabel's, and in doing so shows how stories have lives of their own. To understand stories, one must learn about the culture in which they live.
Weaving the Dream initiates the reader into Pomo culture and the ruptures it has faced during this century - the damage missionizing has done, the demise of native villages like Lolsel, and some of the last dances in the Roundhouses. Yet it bears witness to the continuation of the Acorn and Strawberry Festivals and the survival of Dreaming. It also offers an appreciation for the canning, fruit picking, clothes washing, and other work that sustains minority communities during the worst adversity, and an understanding of how a woman who worked most of her life in a cannery can also be a great healer and an artist whose baskets are collected by the Smithsonian.
In Mabel's life as an Indian weaver and healer, the supernatural was in fact perfectly natural, and in Sarris's Weaving the Dream any distinction between material and spiritual, between mundane and magical, disappears. What remains is a timeless way of healing and of making art, and an ancient, yet still vital, way of being in the world.

Publisher: Berkeley : University of California Press, c1994
ISBN: 9780520086128
0520086120
Characteristics: 165 p. ; 21 cm

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