Woman seeks to unravel mystery of large piece of Cedar Bark Cloth

  • Thu Oct 29th, 2020 1:30am
  • Life
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From November 1957 reprinted in the Forks Forum from the PA Evening News

The 5 by 6-foot piece of cedar bark cloth illustrated was received by Mrs. Alden Hawley, 413 E. Front Street, from Mrs. May Ross, pioneer resident of Forks. Mrs. Ross told Mrs. Hawley the cloth was given to her some time in the 1930s by a Native American woman.

Mrs. Hawley asks that anyone who knew Mrs. Ross at Forks might know something about the cloth, especially local tribal members who lived at or near Forks.

This is Mrs. Hawley’s description of the cloth:

“It is a seamless piece of cedar bark cloth which is usually called tapa, somewhat resembling parchment.

The patterns are in white and shades of light sepia and brown, with letter M and or W, in dark red resembling blood. The squares containing the letters have a tree in the center, half-circles at the sides, that might represent white waves and brown mountains.

Diagonal lines on the upper part could be rain.

“The letters could be for Makah or Washington. The alternate square is exactly the same pattern used by South Sea Islanders.”

Mrs. Hawley is of the opinion the cloth is of historic interest and would welcome any information about the cloth or tapestry, when and by whom made.

The cloth may be seen at her home at 413 East Front Street. Any information may be sent to Evening News.

The mystery now would be …what became of the cloth?