When Kristine Torset of the Shoalwater Bay tribe was told by her grandmother that she had to go to school and help her tribe, she did it.
Now, two decades onward, Torset is doing the crucial work of revitalizing traditional activities like the annual sweet grass harvest. This is one of a series of activities and workshops meant to revitalize weaving traditions of Torset’s tribe.
Listen to hear Torset describe the methods of sweet grass harvesting, from the initial pull to the drying process and beyond. Torset describes the tactile and olfactory senses that trigger in her mind when she is able to connect with the world around her; she also discusses the ways in which this connection has been challenged, namely the loss of many cultural traditions upon the death of the tribe’s last indigenous language speaker in the late 1990s. But revitalization work has a broad and inspiring purpose: Torset leaves us with the thought that, when life has meaning, this creates a certain sense of balance. Performing traditional activities strengthens both the community and the individual’s connection to their surroundings, their world, and their history.