Mike Williams, a member of the Fallon Paiute-Shoshone tribe who creates replicas of duck hunting tools in the Numu or Northern Paiute tradition, is hosting a demonstration about to make tule duck decoys from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Friday at the Nevada Legislative Building.
The traditional Numu way of making duck decoys uses the stem of the tule reed, a member of the sedge family that is indigenous to Nevada. Williams gathers tule stems in the fall, before they are damaged by freezing temperatures. Stems are carefully cut, twisted, woven, and bound into the shape of a duck. He makes the binding string from Indian hemp, also harvested locally. He colors the decoys with natural red ochre from Northern Nevada mountains and black shading from the resin of pinion pine trees. Feathers may be added for effect.
Williams will share the “Tule Duck Decoy Story,” the role of the tule plant in the everyday lives of the Numu, and the symbolic significance of the duck decoy in recognizing a culture that has flourished and adapted to changes in the Great Basin for thousands of years.
The free presentation is part of SENarts “Work of Artists,” an event co-sponsored by the Nevada Arts Council and Capital City Arts Initiative. For more information, call 775-687-6680.