Wendell Cochran making a gourd mask

Booger Masks

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — When a call went out looking for the Cherokee considered the most knowledgeable in gourd mask making, Cherokee National Treasure Wendell Cochran was agreed to be the “Yoda” of not only its history but how it’s used today. Cochran has made gourd masks for years and is said to be responsible for revitalizing the art in Oklahoma. “Masking is a tradition that’s used by almost every civilization and culture. It’s used for a number of purposes. In Italy you had the theater. England had the mummers. Mexico has this huge tradition from Spain of masking like they do for Halloween, Night of the Dead. And Africa, of course, has a huge contemporary tradition of masking with their rituals, their dances and their celebrations,” he said. In America, before missionaries stopped masking activities, there were tribes with masking traditions, including the Hopi, Mohawk and Zunis of the

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