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Gigging: A Cherokee Elder Spears for his Supper

From: Wisconsin Public Radio
Length: 03:30

Audio Postcard of a Cherokee tribal member crafting "gigs"

Gigfishing1_small Hastings Shade is a Cherokee elder who lives in Hulbert, Oklahoma, outside the lazy, rolling banks of 14-Mile Creek. Like his own elders, Shade gigs....spearing fish with hand-forged metal prongs, attached to a pole. This 3:30 audio postcard has Shade explaining and demonstrating the process of making a gig, and ends with him hunting suckers and crawdads. Shade is one of a handful of Cherokee tribal members who still do this traditional form of fishing.

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Piece Description

Hastings Shade is a Cherokee elder who lives in Hulbert, Oklahoma, outside the lazy, rolling banks of 14-Mile Creek. Like his own elders, Shade gigs....spearing fish with hand-forged metal prongs, attached to a pole. This 3:30 audio postcard has Shade explaining and demonstrating the process of making a gig, and ends with him hunting suckers and crawdads. Shade is one of a handful of Cherokee tribal members who still do this traditional form of fishing.

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Voice of a lost art!

I was impressed by the audio demostration of Mr.Hastings and him explaining about a lost art!

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Review of Gigging: A Cherokee Elder Spears for his Supper

This audio postcard put a smile on my face. Though the story is modest in length and in scope--a Native American elder (Hastings Shade) builds a traditional fishing spear then puts it to use in a nearby river? it achieves more than I expected. The first half of the story walks through the process of crafting a ?gig? in a forge. There are a few funky edits, and the soundmix could be a bit more finessed, but it takes me there and paints a picture. Then as Mr. Shade tries out his new gig, he speaks briefly about the ethics of food gathering from a Native perspective, and how important it is for him to pass on this ancient ritual to his son. I was drawn in by the wisdom in his words and by his gentle humor. We could all learn a lot by spending the day fishing with Hastings Shade.

Broadcast History

Never aired. This was done as an exercise during the 2006 Native American Journalists Association convention held in Tulsa, OK. Equipment and technical assistance provided by Doug Mitchell and Tom Krymkowski, of the NPR Next Generation Project. I was assisting them as a mentor and came across this idea in the Tulsa World.

Transcript

AUDIO POSTCARD --- HASTINGS SHADE AND GIGGING TRANSCRIPT

[HUM OF FAN IN OUTSIDE WORKSHOP]

?A gig, is a?.it?s a steel prong you put on an end of a stick. And you cast it or throw it you know, like a spear. We kill fish with it, I?ve been doing it ever since I was big enough to carry one around, since I was probably about three to four years old.

?I learned it from my Grandpa. He told us, ?I?m gonna show you how?.cuz if I start makin? gigs, that?s all I?ll be doin?.?

[SOUND OF SHOVEL LIFTING UP PILE OF COAL]

?This coal is something we didn?t have growing up. we used chips and nut hulls, and it didn?t get quite as hot as this. Out here, I?ve got my tongs to make sure --- the first you learn when you forge is don?t pick up anything with your hands, hah! Always wear a glove or something.

[CRANKING OF BLOWER INTO FORGE]

?This a blower, just like what is called a b...
Read the full transcript

Timing and Cues

GIGGING (Audio Postcard)
Produced by Brian Bull
Length 3:30

Host Intro:

An anvil, hammer, fiery forge, and patience are all tools to Hastings Shade. The Cherokee elder salvages old metal box springs and the like to create gigs ? one to three pronged instruments stuck on the end of a pole made of walnut or locust wood. Shade is one of a few Cherokee who still do this traditional form of fishing. We visited Shade at his Hulbert, Oklahoma home to learn just how gigging is done.

IC: [HUM OF FAN?.A gig is a?.?]
OC: [??.keeping the family together.? SPLASHING?LAUGHTER?.FADE OUT]

Host Outro:

Cherokee Tribal member, Hastings Shade, ?gigging? in Oklahoma?s 14-Mile Creek. Shade forges his own steel gigs to catch fish and crawdads in the old Cherokee way. This audio postcard was produced by Brian Bull.

Additional Files

Related Website

http://www.tulsaworld.com/NewsStory.asp?ID=060807_Ne_a1_cherokee#