When Tinsel Korey visited last year, she posted this picture of her sporting a QN (Quileute Nation) sweatshirt. It's now the main picture for the website:
Even more exciting-- they are selling Dreamcatchers! They aren't made by Quileute Nation. On their site they state they are Native inspired by not made by the Quileute people
However these items are authentic:
This hand made basket is beautiful
This hand carved and hand painted Wolf Rattle is awesome
Some of the items listed are crafts made by the Quileute Tribal School children and proceeds from those go straight to the school
Paddle Necklace Hand made by the Quileute Tribal School children. It is made from hand cut cedar and all the proceeds benefit the Tribal School. Similar to the one Emily wore in New Moon and the one Tinsel Korey is wearing in the photograph with Chris Morganroth. Pre-orders Only. One of a kind handmade product. Can be delivered in 4-5 weeks.
I'm not sure how much you know about some of the controversies surrounding the Twilight saga and the Quileute Nation, but they've seen very little in the way of financial success as a result of both being depicted in the books/movies as well as having a deluge of visitors to their nation. A quote from a UCLA professor sums how how this experience has not been a cash cow for the QN
“Twilight” has made all things Quileute wildly popular: Nordstrom.com sells items from Quileute hoodies to charms bearing a supposed Quileute werewolf tattoo. And a tour company hauls busloads of fans onto the Quileute reservation daily. Yet the Tribe has received no payment for this commercial activity. Meanwhile, half of Quileute families still live in poverty.
Some of the local business are seeing some increase in revenue, specifically the lodging in La Push, which has seen almost a 40% jump over the last 2 years. And the resort in La Push DID recently pair with the local tour company
The nation is scrambling to catch up and accomodate the thousands of visitors they are getting each year. They reported back in 2006 that they can get up to 500 visitors per day- so imagine how many they get NOW! The Quileute monthly newsletter, The Talking Raven, highlighted this month a feature including adding road counters in order to receive more funds for road works due to the high volume of traffic, despite only having around 700 residents. Imagine having to prove to the state of Washington why 700 people need the road finances of 15,000 per year
Even in tourism and filming for publicity, it seems the Quileute don't get as much courtesy extended to them as Forks does as detailed in this OP-ED piece in the New York Times
Just last month, MSN.com issued an apology to the Quileute for intruding on its territory while videotaping a “Twilight” virtual tour in September. MSN.com sought permission from the Chamber of Commerce in nearby Forks, Wash., but didn’t pay the same courtesy to the Quileute. The video team trespassed onto a reservation cemetery and taped Quileute graves, including those of esteemed tribal leaders. These images were then set to macabre music and, in November, posted on MSN.com. The tribe quickly persuaded MSN.com to remove the Quileute images.
From the New York Post, they touch on how ambivalent the QN is to making themselves a commodity
Locals marvel at how much she got right, but the economically depressed reservation is ambivalent about "Twilight" and how its 350 residents should capitalize on it. Compared to Forks, where visitors can pose with Bella's truck and participate in a "Twilight" look-alike contest, the reservation is cloaked in centuries-old anonymity.
So what can YOU do? What kind of responsibility does the average Twilight fan have in helping out the very community that is, in a small way, being exploited for our pleasure?
Remember that these are real people. And that they have a real history, in some ways, different than the one used in the Twilight Saga. Imagine someone telling your life story, yet changing half the story to fit their needs? I don't fault SM for this in anyway, but I do urge people to take this opportunity to learn more about the real Quileute Nation. And to help.
Quileute artists take pride in harvesting their own materials, whether it's raw animal sinew for a drum or cedar bark for baskets. Penn-Charles says she's felt judged by some tribal members because she knits the names of "Twilight" characters into traditional cowichin hats. They sell for $50 at the resort store, or $25 directly from her.
"They're resentful. They think we're selling out," Penn-Charles says. "It's not. It makes your car payment, or those braces your kids need."
The tribe has hired a business developer, Justin Finkbonner, who also spearheads a crusade to market Quileute and other native artists.
"We have so many talented artists here, so many untapped," Counsell says. "They don't know how to market."
So it seems the store is going to be one of the ways to help tap into those native artists, as well as a way to help the school and other local families.
It's not that the Quileute want to close off outsiders, or shun visitors. Quite the opposite, they want to educate exited fans and be participants in the way the Quileute are projected and displayed
I don't mean this to be a Debbie Downer post, or a shaming wagging finger- quite the opposite! I'd love to see fans embrace the true Quileute Nation and see the need that is there for these people that have allowed us to entire their world. Remember the next time you drop $100 on Twilight merchandise that there is an entire population of people that could benefit from those finances- and imagine how proud you'll be in 20 years of your handwoven native basket as compared to that plastic Jacob Barbie Doll. Just saying.
Do you really need another lunch box, or stickers, or pins, or whatever else? I can't judge. I own it all too. I have shrines and merchandise all over my entire home. So I'm right there with each of you. But I also feel a pressing need to help spread some of that wealth. So order a handmade paddle necklace from the Quileute Tribal kids and feel good knowing your money wasn't sucked into giant corporate America or NECA or Summit once again
I can proudly say this as I wear my authentic Quileute shirt from La Push, with a native depiction of the wolf in Quileute Art.
One thing I am proud of as well, from Summit, is that this year they seem to be getting much more savvy about the entire process. They welcomed and invited Quileute natives to the New Moon premiere, and those that attended stated they felt they were treated as royalty. And inserting a REAL Quileute language phrase into New Moon has jumped the Quileute Nation into the top 10 searches of 2010. Not Kidding. Not even close. (you know, the almost kiss in the kitchen!)
So Visit the store, the Quileute Nation website and read their blog!