TAHLEQUAH – Beading is an art that has been passed down from generation to generation in Emma Washee-Gutierrez’s family. She took interest in beading at around 11 years old and found a passion for it as a teenager.

“With our beading, you know, my great grandpa beaded. His mom, his grandma, it went down the line,” she said. “So it’s just kind of neat because my mom taught me, but my grandma also taught me…and my cousins or my aunts have taught me different things, too. And my brother taught me a lot on how to do different necklace types.”

Washee-Gutierrez said her first project was a hat band for her father. This, she said, is what made continue beading. “So that was kind of like it for me. I was like, ‘OK, I really like this. I want to continue to do this. After that I went into like small earrings. I didn’t start doing big medallions until just a few years ago.”