Weaving and the Stó:lo People
Weaving has always been important to the Stó:lo people of the Fraser Valley in British Columbia, Canada. Before the Europeans brought sheep to North America, the Stó:lo used wool from mountain goats or small domesticated furry dogs (called woolly dogs) to weave beautiful blankets worn as clothing and on ceremonial occasions by chiefs and elders throughout the Fraser Valley. The weavers use an unusual warping technique called "reverse warp", and the weft-faced blankets are woven with a twining technique. Skilled Stó:lo weavers still create blankets worn as symbol of the wearer's wealth and status and given as gifts at potlatch ceremonies, naming ceremonies and other important gatherings. The blankets tell a story, much like the totems of other Salish people, and they hold special spiritual power for the people who wear them. For lots more information and an interview and weaving demonstration with Stó:lo master weaver Minnie Peters, visit Journey into Time Immemorial, an award-winning online virtual exhibit and tour of the Xá:ytem Longhouse in Mission, BC, in the Fraser Valley.