“My grandmother wove in me a tapestry that was impossible to unwind,” Vigo said. “Since then, I’ve dedicated my life to the sea, just as those who have come before me.”
Like the 23 women before her, Vigo has never made a penny from her work. She is bound by a sacred ‘Sea Oath’ that maintains that byssus should never be bought or sold.
Instead, Vigo explained that the only way to receive byssus is as a gift. […]
“Byssus doesn’t belong to me, but to everyone,” Vigo asserted. “Selling it would be like trying to profit from the sun or the tides.”
More recently, a Japanese businessman approached Vigo with an offer to purchase her most famous piece, ‘The Lion of Women’, for €2.5 million. It took Vigo four years to stitch the glimmering 45x45cm design with her fingernails, and she dedicated it to women everywhere.
“I told him, ‘Absolutely not’,” she declared. “The women of the world are not for sale.”
Miss Oklahoma 2017, Triana Browne, is a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation. This weekend, she featured contemporary takes on traditional Chickasaw women’s clothing at the “Show Us Your Shoes” Parade, which Miss America contestants walk in, and feature designs that represent their home state.
Triana wore jewelry designed by Chickasaw jeweler Kristen Dorsey, a romper (inspired by traditional Chickasaw women’s ribbon dresses) by Chickasaw designer Courtney Parchcorn and Cherokee designer Buddy Parchcorn, a traditional finger woven belt by Chickasaw weaver Ashley Wallace, a leather belt by Chickasaw artist Maya Stewart, and custom beaded heels by Courtney and Buddy Parchcorn, which feature the seals of the Chickasaw Nation and State of Oklahoma.
Good luck competing for Miss America, Triana! Indian Country is rooting for you <3