Our mission is to teach people about our Native American ancestry
Bermudians now have a new blanket commemorating St Davids Island culture to keep them warm when the chill winds start whistling down the chimney.
Kevin Watson designed the blanket. He is a chef and graphic artist and a trustee of the St Davids Islanders and Native Community, a group that aims to promote Bermudas Native American connections.
Native American captives were brought to Bermuda in the late 1600s and early 1700s to be sold as slaves.
They were often captives from various wars fought between Europeans and Native Americans.
It is thought that many of them were from New England tribes such as the Pequot and Wampanoag.
Many Bermudians today are descended from these people. In recent years some Bermudians with such heritage have been reconnecting with people from tribes in New England.
They have attended pow wows in the United States, and held several pow wows in Bermuda.
Funds from the sale of the blankets will go to St Davids Islanders and Native Community, which arranges the biannual pow wow in Bermuda.
Our mission is to teach people about our Native American ancestry, said group secretary Patricia Raynor. We often speak at schools about it. We give a talk and show them one dance.
We are always well received. We were recently at the Bermuda High School talking with students.
The new blanket is made from cotton and is predominantly blue and yellow with motifs of fish, birds and trees typical to Bermuda.
It contains the groups logo in the centre, two hands clasping one another.
This is our second blanket, said trustee Ronnie Chameau. We lost the right to use our old logo and blanket, so we had it all redone. The blankets were made in Montana by a company called Cindys Throws.
Kevin designed the blankets and logo and everything is copyrighted now.
The colours, blue and white, represent the colours of tribes of the northeast, and of St Davids said Mr Watson. The blanket has designs of Bermuda rockfish, turtles and suck-rocks (a marine mollusc properly called chiton tuberculatus) all items used once by St Davids Islanders for food.
It has the longtail bird which represents St Davids Islands majestic strength to hold together over the years.
The clasped hands in the logo represent our reconnection with our relatives in New England after 300 plus years. There are trees in it such as the cedar and the palmetto.
Native Americans revere the cedar for its strength and agility. The palmetto is also very strong. Each corner of the blanket has a cahow.
Even though I designed it, mostly everyone on the committee had input into its design to make it one unit. The blanket is designed to totally represent the St Davids Island cultural history.
Ms Raynor said the blanket has a good spirit.
When the first 50 arrived on the Island a few weeks ago they sold out almost immediately. The group is now waiting for another batch to arrive and is already taking orders.
The blanket is selling for $75. To place an order telephone 541-7777.
To learn more about Mr Watsons artwork, see his website at watsoncraftsproductions.com.
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