I am “Wolf Medicine” of the Onöndowa’ga:’, or in English, Jarrod of the Seneca Nation. I am of the Wolf Clan. My nohye:h is Butchy White. Her mother is Lucille White. My hah:nih is Steve Hill. I am the oldest of both of my parents and I grew up on Sulphur Springs road on the Cattaraugus territory.
My journey of jewelry began before I was born. My grandmother went to the south west the year before I was born. She bought much Navajo silver jewelry. All handmade. When I was just 2, I found her collection. At first the silver was what caught my eye. Already I was more fascinated by how it was made. Not the luster or any fascination for riches. I would stare at it over and over. I would get a feel of it in my tiny little hands, observing mostly its construction and trying to figure it all out even then.
I attended the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA). I met many others at IAIA including fellow native students who come from as far south as the Andes Mountains, and as far north as Alaska. A few of our own at the school. It was nice to meet fellow Hodinöhsö:ni’ while we were all so far away from home. In addition, I was helped along the way by several people. I took a jewelry class at a local community college as well.Finally, I received some native instruction. I learned so much from a Navajo stamp salesman. He taught me many things that none of my teachers at the schools ever mentioned. From then on I started reaching out to other “elders” in native jewelry. All so helpful. So wise in their crafts and techniques. Each all doing something unique even if so many others in their tribe are also doing jewelry. I got help from a Pequot brother and a few other coastal native jewelers who work with wampum. That’s when I feel like my craft took off, and I myself began to grow in a new way. Around that same time, I met a young Navajo jeweler, a generational jeweler. We both began to teach each other and help each other learn and grow. We still do today.
I wish to pass on my knowledge. My skills. I wish to bring better living conditions within my fellow native peoples. I wish to teach my fellow Hodinöhsö:ni’ the ways I have learned of making jewelry so that no matter what, we will have an identity; an identity in jewelry, an identity as a very talented, creative people, known globally, no longer as Indian, but as we are, Hodinöhsö:ni’. So that people in other lands will know of us, our works, our wisdom, and our history and culture. For anyone in the world to see an item made by us, and to by sight, touch, and feel, to know immediately it is Hodinöhsö:ni’.