Alecs bring heritage art to event

Published 10:06 am Monday, October 24, 2011

From left, Rebecca, Montana and Lyndon Alec arrived in Atmore Friday from Livingston Texas looking forward to displaying their art and talent at Williams Station Day 2011. The Alecs and other artists will be on hand for the 20th annual Williams Station Day today.

This year’s Williams Station Day festival is already showing signs of having one of the largest crowds in recent history, and the flood of visitors into the city has not been relegated to former residents enjoying a weekend homecoming.

This year, WSD welcomes into town a handful of artists and vendors from all over the State of Alabama and the nation. Among them are Lyndon and Rebecca Alec and their daughter Montana. The Alecs are members of the Alabama Coushadta reservation in Livingston, Texas, and have traveled to Atmore to demonstrate and display some of their talents and art.

Rebecca’s contribution to WSD 2011 will be homemade Native American jewelry she makes by hand using stones like turquoise and coral.

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“I use stones Native Americans used all the time,” Rebecca said. “I’ll also use sterling silver.”

Rebecca said she has only been practicing her art for a small number of years, but loves bringing the stones together to form a beautiful piece of jewelry.

“I got into jewelry about five years ago,” she said. “I’ve kind of learned it on my own and I’ve enjoyed it.”

Rebecca normally sells her jewelry exclusively on her reservation in Texas.

“We try to keep it within our reservation,” she said. “That way, when visitors come to our reservation, they can see all of this handmade jewelry that has been made by our tribe, and not bought.”

Rebecca said she also enjoys showing customers the process by which her jewelry is made.

“We like to demonstrate, that way people know that is handmade instead of store bought,” she said.

Rebecca said she and her family had the chance to visit the Poarch Band of Creek Indians reservation while staying in Atmore.

“We visited the Poarch Creek Indian reservation for the first time. We really fell in love with the people there, she said.”

While the Alecs said they are looking forward to displaying their artwork at WSD, they will also be performing in the day’s festivities.

Rebecca’s husband, Lyndon, does traditional hoop dancing at their home reservation and will be demonstrating during the WSD opening ceremonies.

Lyndon said the dances are traditional Native American practices he has been perfecting since he was 12 years old.

“Hoop dancing is when we use 22 or 24 (inch) diameter rings, and I use 24 of them, making different designs and different formations of the world, plants, trees and animals.”

Lyndon said he first learned the dances from a friend and has steadily upped the number of rings he uses over the years.

“I learned it from a friend of mine from Brigham Young University. They were touring all over the world doing this,” Lyndon said. “At that time I was doing only about six of them, and then I picked it up from him and I’ve been doing it for 36 years.”

The Alecs said they first learned of Williams Station Day through stumbling upon the Atmore Area Chamber of Commerce’s Web site and said, since they always enjoy trips to Alabama, decided to attend this year.

“We just love Alabama,” they said. “We come here at least three times out of year. The friendliness in Alabama, we just love it.”

The Alecs will be set up for during WSD in space number nine located on the north end of Pensacola Avenue across from First United Methodist Church.

Williams Station Day will begin today at 9 a.m. with the opening ceremonies in fromt of the Atmore Area YMCA.