Michael Johnson

TAAP 2012 AWARDEE

Artist Michael Johnson with his Apprentice, Melinda Broncheau. Photo Credit: Sanna Parikka, 01/2013

Artist Michael Johnson with his Apprentice, Melinda Broncheau. Photo Credit: Sanna Parikka, 01/2013

Traditional skill/art/craft: Cornhusk twining (false embroidery)
Ethnic Background: Native American, Native Oregonian, Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation
Apprentice: Melinda Broncheau

Describe your traditional skill/craft/art, when and why it is done, and your history with it:

The traditional skill is cornhusk twining, which is also known as false embroidery. We will create a cornhusk traditional hat. The hats are used in ceremony namings, food gatherings, and traditional dancing.

How and from whom was the tradition learned?

All traditions are passed down, so I have learned from various elders who all have inspired me to be the weaving teacher I am today. These include Effie Culpus (Warm Springs), Phyllis Shillal (Walla Walla), Rose Frank (Nez Perce), and Katherine Ramsey (Nez Perce).

Michael Johnson Biography

Birthplace: Pendleton, OR
Birth Date: 6/17/69

Michael Johnson was born and raised in Umatilla County. He is a weaver by trade, participating in numerous cultural exchanges, and has taught weaving classes at institutions including Blue Mountain Community College and Eastern Oregon University. His work has also been featured at the Oregon Tribal Celebration and Columbia River Tribal Fish Commission among others.

He originally learned cornhusk twining when attending culture camp on the Warm Springs Reservation. Encouraged to continue weaving by his aunt, he was later sent to Idaho to study with several master weavers. He also assisted his grandmother in teaching weaving classes. Very few today still practice the technique of false embroidery twining. Like his grandmother, Michael actively works to pass this rich tradition to those willing to learn.

Experience/Honors

2004 Folklife Apprenticeship with Jess Nowland

Speaker for Bighole Battlefield Culture Presentation in Wisdom, Montana

Culture Camp Counselor 2011 in Pilot Rock, OR

Culture Assistant for CTUIR Senior Center

General Council Chairman 2007-2009 for Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation

Contact Information

Phone: 541-566-3122 (day) 541-215-2719 (evening)
Address: P.O. Box 79, Adams, OR 97810
Email: m_ray_j@yahoo.com

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