Back in the 1990’s Walker Goldsmiths became aware through our friends Ken and Monica Decker in Ketchikan of a part of Celebration that came to be called “The Grandmother Wars”. Celebration is a biannual gathering to celebrate SE Alaskan Native cultures (Tlingit, Tsimshian, and Haida) hosted by Sealaska Corporation. One of the events back then was a baby beauty contest, this was not just about pretty babies but pretty babies dressed in traditional regalia. There was a great deal of miniature regalia being made for this contest and everyone knows you are not fully dressed without your jewelry! Things quickly escalated to a display of very expensive gold and silver jewelry and expensive regalia that overshadowed the babies that were supposed to be the focal point.
The Baby Beauty Contest is no longer held as the competition became so fierce that people were spending way too much money and taking it way too seriously, to the point where it was being called “the Grandmother Wars”. As a Grandparent I can sympathize as the only time I was ever tempted to ram a Cadillac was when I saw the bumper sticker that said “My grandkids are cuter than your grandkids.” If I had been in my old truck, there might have been an accident report!
The preparations for the contest started a bit of a tradition of getting your new grandchild a silver baby bracelet and we love to be part of that! I took some of my designs and shrunk them to baby size and carved them up! Being a grandfather myself I take particular joy in carving baby bracelets. Grandparenthood is a wonderful adventure but we have to be careful that we don’t turn a baby contest into a war!