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.
Kern County Fair, Bakersfield, California, 1999-present
Wildwest Extravaganza, Bakersfield, California, 2001-present
Arts Council of Kern County, Bakersfield, California, 1997- present
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
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
Teaching and mentorships
Educational presentations to schools or community organizations