Traditional skill/art/craft: Umatilla Cornhusk False Embroidery
Ethnic Background: Native American, Native Oregonian, Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation
Apprentice: Melinda Broncheau
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.
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).
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.
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