Eugene Albitre


Western and Native American arts

As a teenager growing up on a ranch, Eugene Albitre learned rawhide braiding from a neighbor, Salvador Carmelo, a Native American vaquero from the Tejon Ranch.  From that introduction to making the essential equipment necessary for ranching activities, Albitre proceeded to learn other western ranching and Native American arts including hide tanning and beading.  Now with over 35 years of experience with these art forms, Albitre introduces them to youth through classroom visits and trains individual students in rawhide, leather, bead, feather and porcupine quill work.  He is also an active member of the local ranching and Native American communities and organizes dance classes, drum sessions and other major events.

Bosals, reatas and reins made of braided rawhide are some of the horse gear used by the vaqueros, or cowboys, of the Central Valley.  Albitre works with all kinds of hides – beef, deer, elk and buffalo, among others – to make a variety of products including ranch gear, drums and rattles.  Beef hides are strong and are used to make rawhide string for reatas, bosals, quirts and the ties on drums.  It takes about six hours from start to finish to remove the hair from a beef hide and to cut, flesh, stretch and bevel strips of rawhide, producing up to 400 feet of string.  A bosal for a hackamore may take up to 200 feet of string or about a half a beef hide.

As a master artist in ACTA's Apprenticeship Program in 2003, Eugene shared his skills with apprentice Corina Castellon, who is of Apache descent.  She learned to tan deer, elk, and cow hides without toxic chemicals; braid rawhide; and to make the bead and feather articles used in her Native American dance regalia.

Select Exhibits

Kern County Fair, Bakersfield, California, 1999-present

Wildwest Extravaganza, Bakersfield, California, 2001-present

Arts Council of Kern County, Bakersfield, California, 1997- present

Accomplishments

President of Native American Heritage Preservation Council of Kern County, Bakersfield, California, 1998- present

Head Coordinator of Standing Bear Pow Wow, Bakersfield, California, 1996-present

Teaching Experience

Demonstrations at local schools and colleges, 1990-2005

Individual instruction, 1990-2005

Teaches Pow Wow style dancing for children in the Eagle’s Heart Dance Group, 1992-present

Professional Services

Teaching and mentorships
Demonstrations
Lectures
Educational presentations to schools or community organizations
Performances

Images

Click on any image to view slideshow.

Beaded dance fan (Photo courtesy of Eugene Albitre)
Beaded knife handle with tooled leather sheath (Photo courtesy of Eugene Albitre)
Beef hide stretched and drying in Eugene Alibtre's backyard in preparation for having the hair scraped off (Photo: ACTA)
Braided bosals and hackamores (Photo courtesy of Eugene Albitre)
Braided hackamore (Photo courtesy of Eugene Albitre)
Braided reins (Photo courtesy of Eugene Albitre)
Buckskin pouch (Photo courtesy of Eugene Albitre)
Deer skins dry in Eugene Albitre's backyard (Photo: ACTA)
Elk drum (24") (Photo courtesy of Eugene Albitre)
Elk drums (48" x 24" x 18" handheld) (Photo courtesy of Eugene Albitre)
Elk rattle (Photo courtesy of Eugene Albitre)
Elk rattle with deer toes attached (Photo courtesy of Eugene Albitre)

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