Now all my singing Dreams are gone,
But none knows where they have fled
Nor by what trails they have left me.
Return, O Dreams of my heart,
And sing in the Summer twilight,
By the creek and the almond thicket
And the field that is bordered with lupins!
-Excerpt from Paiute Medicine Song
The Paiute stories and legends handed down through the generations tell of their early ancestors living in the high desert region of present-day Harney and Malheur counties for thousands of years. The Burns Paiute Reservation is located north of Burns, the county seat of Harney County. There, the tribe continues to foster its cherished traditions, which include narrative (the telling of legends), dance, and drumming, among other tribal lifeways.
In Burns, the county seat, Manger’s research led him to Native silversmith Dean Adams (Jemez Pueblo and Northern Paiute). Dean learned the trade from his father, Delmar Adams, an award-winning silversmith. Adams (Sr.) traveled throughout the Western United States attending shows, often accompanied by Ben Nighthorse Campbell, the former U.S. Senator from Colorado, a renowned jewelry maker in his own right.
Apart from his work in silver jewelry making, Adams and his wife, Elise (Northern Ute), are now learning the painstaking art of juniper basket making from Adams’ grandmother, Rena Beers. “Each basket is made from one piece of bark,” Adams said. “You have to peel the bark off by hand, which takes about four to five hours.” The bark, harvested at the wettest time of the year, is then shaved and formed into a basket.