Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Basket Periods and Materials

Basket materials correspond to chronological periods. The rivercane period extends from the earliest contact with Europeans until the removal encompassing the era when Cherokees depended most on cane as a basket source. They made and used rivercane baskets for daily subsistence activities, for exchange, and for ceremonies and rituals.

The white oak period begins with removal. 19th century Cherokees fullyincorporated white oak into conventions of rivercane basketry as they recastsettlement patterns, subsistence customs, and social systems on themountainous land that became the reservation. White oak basketry is a European American tradition that includes men as well as women. Access to rivercane, and to all that it had meant, became increasingly limited. By the end of the 19th century, white oak baskets were as much an index of change as rivercane baskets had been signifiers of continuity.

Honeysuckle period develops around the turn of the 20th century, when new federal policies aimed to assimilate Native Americans through formal education, industrial training, and the eradiciation of native languages and customs. Weavers did not relinquish rivercane or white oak basketry, rather, they incorporated a third material and developed a new tradition.

The red maple period includes the New Deal for Indians, a program implemented by the Roosevelt administration and Indian commissioner John Collier and it follows the development of Cherokee dependence on tourism that has continued through the last decade of the 20th century.

source: Weaving New Worlds, by Sarah Hill