Wood carving demonstration slated at Van Meter State Park June 9

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

A wood carver from the Delaware Nation of Oklahoma will give a presentation on the Big House Ceremony on Saturday, June 9, at Van Meter State Park near Miami. Sponsored by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, the program will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Missouri's American Indian Cultural Center at the park. It is free and open to the public.

Master carver Mike Watkins will carve and paint a replica cedar post similar to those significant to the Big House Ceremony held by tribes. Looking for relief from white settlers who wanted their land, the Big House Ceremony was delivered to the Lenape people. The home for this celebration was the Big House, thought of as a miniature universe. The Big House, a Delaware ceremonial dwelling, features many posts supporting the longhouse design. Most posts have sacred carvings of human faces. Center posts, doorway posts and wall posts each bore a carved face -- 12 faces in all. The faces were not worshipped as idols but represented the M'sig (Masked Spirit).

Watkins and other members of the Delaware tribe will relate the significance and meaning of the post to the Big House Ceremony and to the Lenape creation story. When completed, Watkins' post will be blessed and placed on display in Missouri's American Indian Cultural Center at the park.

Van Meter State Park is located 12 miles northwest of Marshall on Highway 122. For more information, contact the park at (660) 886-7537 or the Missouri Department of Natural Resources toll free at 1-800-334-6946 (voice) or 1-800-379-2419 (Telecommunications Device for the Deaf). For more information about Missouri state parks and historic sites, visit the Web at www.mostateparks.com.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: