Artbound

S9 E8 | FULL EPISODE

The Art of Basketweaving

Native American basketry has long been viewed as a community craft, yet the artistic quality and value of these baskets are on par with other fine art. Now Native peoples across the country are revitalizing basketry traditions and the country looks to California as a leader in basket weaving revitalization.

AIRED: April 24, 2018 | 0:56:34
ABOUT THE PROGRAM
TRANSCRIPT

[MUSIC PLAYING]

[WOMAN VOCALIZING]

DEANA DARTT: THERE'S THIS IDEA

IN THE WESTERN PERSPECTIVE THAT

SOMETHING CAN'T BE HIGH ART IF

IT HAS A FUNCTION. IT HAS TO BE

ENTIRELY FUNCTIONLESS IN ORDER

TO HAVE VALUE. AND NATIVE

PEOPLES DON'T THINK THAT WAY.

THINGS THAT HAVE A PURPOSE HAVE

THE GREATEST VALUE.

AND EVERYTHING IS PART OF A

CONTEXT. EVERYTHING IS PART OF

A WHOLE. AND THE IDEA OF WESTERN

ART IS SO INDIVIDUALISTIC AND SO

ISOLATED.

LINDA YAMANE: OUR BASKETRY

IS AN ART FORM,

BECAUSE YOU CAN'T ESCAPE THE

FACT OF THE AESTHETIC ELEMENTS.

THERE IS SO MUCH HUMAN INGENUITY

AND AESTHETIC EXPRESSION.

IT IS ART, BUT IT IS ALSO

FUNCTION.

SHERRIE SMITH--FERRI: BASKETS,

WHEN YOU LOOK AT THEM

ACROSS TIME, YOU CAN ALMOST

HAVE A CONVERSATION WITH THEM,

AND YOU CAN SEE THEM

MAKING DECISIONS, DECIDING ON

PARTICULAR MATERIALS OR A

PARTICULAR TECHNIQUE. LOOKING AT

BASKET IS BEING ABLE TO IN SOME

WAYS SORT OF TALK ACROSS TIME

AND ADMIRE MASTERS AT WORK.

CUTCHA RISLING-BALDY: TO THIS

DAY CALIFORNIA BASKETRY

IS SOME OF THE MOST

SOUGHT AFTER BASKETRY IN THE

ART WORLD, YOU SEE EXAMPLES OF

IT AT AUCTIONS OR AT THESE LARGE

MARKETS THAT YOU CAN GO TO,

PEOPLE ARE REALLY ALWAYS

LOOKING FOR THE WEAVING

THAT'S BEEN DONE IN CALIFORNIA.

THERE WAS A LOT OF EXPLORERS AND

MISSIONARIES WHO CAME TO

CALIFORNIA VERY EARLY ON--YOU'RE

TALKING ABOUT THE 1700s--AND

THEY WERE WANTING TO CATEGORIZE

CALIFORNIA INDIANS AS PRIMITIVE

HUNTER-GATHERERS. AND THEY KEPT

SAYING, YOU KNOW, THEY'RE A VERY

PRIMITIVE CULTURE. THEY'RE VERY

SIMPLE. BUT THEN THEY WOULD

ALWAYS HAVE THESE LITTLE CAVEATS

IN THEIR WRITINGS WHERE THEY

WOULD SAY, "EXCEPT THEY MAKE

THESE BEAUTIFUL BASKETS."

IT'S VERY INTERESTING TO SEE

THAT HAPPEN TO THEM, BECAUSE

THEY CAN'T UNDERSTAND, IN THEIR

MINDS, HOW WE'RE ABLE TO DO

THAT. BUT TO ME THAT JUST SHOWS

THAT, YOU KNOW, THEIR VIEW OF US

AS PRIMITIVE HUNTER-GATHERERS IS

SO WRONG. AND THAT WAS NEVER WHO

WE WERE AS A PEOPLE. WE HUNTED,

WE GATHERED, WE WERE ALSO

MOTHERS AND FATHERS, WE WERE

ALSO DOCTORS, AND WE WERE ALSO

BOTANISTS AND BIOLOGISTS AND ALL

OF THOSE THINGS--MATHEMATICIANS,

ALL THOSE THINGS YOU CAN SEE IN

OUR BASKETRY.

DEANA: THERE ARE CALIFORNIA

INDIAN BASKETS IN MUSEUMS ALL

OVER THE THE WORLD, BECAUSE IT'S

REALLY SEEN AS THE MOST

TECHNICALLY DIFFICULT, THE MOST

AESTHETICALLY BEAUTIFUL, AND

EVEN IN SOME CASES, THE MOST

PRACTICAL OR TECHNOLOGICALLY

ADVANCED FOR A PRE-CONTACT

PEOPLE.

THE PEOPLE WHO WERE THE FINEST

BASKETMAKERS WERE OFTEN ASKED TO

MAKE SPECIAL CEREMONIAL BASKETS,

BASKETRY HATS, THINGS THAT WERE

WORN IN CEREMONY OR USED IN

CEREMONY. THOSE OBJECTS WEREN'T

MADE BY JUST ANYBODY. THERE WERE

PEOPLE WHO COULD EXECUTE THOSE

DESIGN ELEMENTS, MOTIFS

BEAUTIFULLY. AND THOSE OBJECTS

WERE REVERED.

SHERRIE: IF YOU EVER HAVE TRIED

TO MAKE A BASKET,

THEN YOU YOU START TO HAVE

A GREAT DEAL MORE RESPECT FOR

HOW DIFFICULT IT IS. YOU KNOW,

IT'S A 3-DIMENSIONAL OBJECT,

AND YOU ARE HAVING TO LAY OUT

DESIGNS ON THAT OBJECT AND HAVE

THEM WORK WITH THAT SHAPE. YOU

FORM THAT DESIGN IN YOUR MIND.

SO YOU'RE NOT WRITING IT DOWN.

YOU'RE NOT GRAPHING IT OUT.

YOU JUST HAVE TO BE ABLE

IN YOUR MIND TO SEE

THE FINISHED PRODUCT AND THEN

BREAK IT DOWN INTO ALL THE

DIFFERENT STEPS ALONG THE WAY.

WHICH IS ACTUALLY A LOT OF MATH

AND GEOMETRY.

DEANA: MOST OF THEM HAVE TO DO

WITH NATIVE RELATIONSHIPS WITH

THE NATURAL ENVIRONMENT AND

WITH THEIR BELIEF IN THE

SPIRITUAL WORLD. SO, OFTENTIMES

THEY WERE GENERALLY ABSTRACTED,

THEY WERE RARELY

REPRESENTATIONAL. AND SOME

FAMILY GROUPS WOULD HAVE A

CERTAIN DESIGN ELEMENT, SO YOU

COULD SEE A BASKET AND KNOW WHAT

FAMILY THAT HAD ORIGINATED FROM.

AS ARTISTS TODAY HAVE LICENSE TO

MAKE THINGS UP AND TO CALL

THINGS FORTH FROM THEIR OWN

SPIRITUAL UNDERSTANDING,

WE SEE THAT, TOO.

SHERRIE: BASKETS WERE THE

PRIMARY TOOLS OF LIFE. YOU COULD

HUNT WITH BASKETS, FISH WITH

BASKETS, YOU COULD CARRY THINGS

WITH BASKETS, YOU COULD COOK

WITH BASKETS, YOU HARVESTED

FOOD, YOU PROCESSED FOOD, YOU

MADE BEAUTIFUL THINGS TO GIVE

AS GIFTS. BASKETS PERVADED DAILY

LIFE, WHAT YOU NEEDED TO

SURVIVE, BUT ALSO IN MANY WAYS,

WHAT YOU ENJOYED DOING, TOO. AND

I THINK, REALLY, ONE OF THE

REASONS WE WERE ABLE TO DO THAT

HERE WAS BECAUSE OF THAT

VARIETY OF PLANTS.

CALIFORNIA IS ONE OF THE

SPOTS IN THE WHOLE WORLD THAT

HAS KIND OF THE MOST DIVERSE

PLANT COMMUNITIES. AND SO YOU

HAVE THIS REALLY CORNUCOPIA OF

PLANTS THAT YOU CAN CHOOSE FROM

TO MAKE YOUR BASKETS.

BRITTANI ORONA: THERE'S THIS

VERY BROAD, DIFFERENT WAY THAT

BASKETRY LOOKS ACROSS

CALIFORNIA, BECAUSE WE'RE ALL SO

DIFFERENT FROM EACH OTHER, AND

WE ALSO COME FROM DIFFERENT

SPACES, DIFFERENT ENVIRONMENTS.

BASKETRY PLANTS ACROSS THE STATE

ARE VERY DIVERSE. TRIBES USED

BASKETS ACROSS THE STATE IN VERY

DIFFERENT WAYS, AND THEY LOOKED

VERY DIFFERENT. USUALLY YOU CAN

TELL A BASKET FROM HUPA, YUROK,

OR KARUK COUNTRY BASED ON

THE TYPES OF MATERIALS THAT ARE

USED, LIKE HAZEL, WOODWARDIA

FERN, BEAR GRASS, ALL THOSE

TYPES OF PLANTS THAT ARE

SPECIFIC TO THE PACIFIC NORTH

COAST. OTHER PLACES, LIKE

CHUMASH, THEY USE TULE, AND THEY

MAKE THESE AMAZING BOATS OUT OF

TULE. BUT YOU KNOW IT'S FROM

THAT AREA. AND THE SAME WITH

POMO BASKETS. THEY'RE VERY WELL

KNOWN FOR THEIR FEATHER BASKETS.

DIANA: A BASKET IS SO MUCH

MORE THAN JUST THE PRODUCTS THAT

A YEAR OR MORE OF TENDING YOUR

GATHERING PLACES AND SINGING TO

THOSE PLANTS AND ALL THE STORIES

AND SONGS AROUND THAT PARTICULAR

PLACE AND THAT PARTICULAR PLANT,

AND THE STEWARDSHIP THAT GOES

ALONG WITH BEING A WEAVER IS

IMMENSE, AND YOU TEND TO THOSE

THINGS THAT ARE GOING TO GIVE OF

THEMSELVES SO THAT YOU CAN

PRACTICE YOUR ART. IT'S NOT

GOING TO AARON BROS. AND BUYING

SOME BRUSHES AND GOING HOME AND,

YOU KNOW--IT'S REALLY A

LIFE-LONG LEARNING. IT'S

CULTURAL, IT'S BIOLOGICAL, IT'S,

UM, YOU KNOW, IT'S SCIENTIFIC.

WHEN YOU HAVE TO GATHER AND

PROCESS AND DYE YOUR OWN

MATERIALS, IT'S A MUCH MORE

COMPLEX ARTISTIC ENDEAVOR.

TIMARA LOTAH-LINK: WHOA.

SO, I HAVE TO START AT THE TOP

OF THE TULE. THERE'S SO MANY.

PUT MY HAND ON THE ONE I WANT

AND THEN I FOLLOW IT DOWN TO THE

BASE, AND THAT'S WHERE I CUT.

OTHERWISE, YOUR EYES CAN'T

SEE IT.

ONE OF MY FAVORITE PLANTS TO USE

FOR WEAVING IS TULE. IT'S THE

BEST PLANT. IT FILTERS, IT

PROVIDES HABITAT FOR BIRDS,

IT'S USEFUL FOR ALL KINDS OF

STUFF. PEOPLE LOVE IT.

IT'S BEAUTIFUL. IT SMELLS

BEAUTIFUL. IT LOOKS BEAUTIFUL.

IT'S HARDY. IT COMES BACK FAST.

BUT IT'S ONE OF THE FEW BASKET

PLANTS THAT ABSOLUTELY NEEDS TO

BE IN WATER.

WE'RE WEAVING IN AN ENVIRONMENT

THAT HAS A LANDSCAPE CHALLENGE

RIGHT NOW. THERE'S NOT ENOUGH

WATER. THERE'S NOT ENOUGH LAND

THAT HAS USABLE MATERIALS.

IN THE BASKETRY WORLD, WE TALK A

LOT ABOUT ACCESS. OH, DO YOU

HAVE ACCESS TO YOUR MATERIALS?

OH, I LOST THE ACCESS TO MY

MATERIALS LAST YEAR. OR MAYBE A

LANDOWNER BARRED ME FROM GOING

IN, OR MAYBE THE TULE STAND THAT

I USUALLY GO TO IS DEAD AND GONE

NOW. SO THAT'S A BIG TOPIC FOR

CONVERSATION BETWEEN WEAVERS.

SOMETIMES I'LL GO BACK TO THE

PLACE I PICKED FROM BEFORE AND

IT'S GONE. SOMEONE BUILT A HOUSE

ON IT, OR EVERYTHING'S DEAD

BECAUSE THERE WAS NO RAIN THAT

YEAR. SO I HAVE TO TRY TO FIND

A NEW PLACE. THERE'S ALL KINDS

OF THINGS THAT ARE REALLY

BLOCKING OUR ACCESS. AND

SOMETIMES IT'S NOT A PHYSICAL

FENCE. IT CAN BE PESTICIDES.

IT CAN BE LAWS.

IT CAN BE MANY THINGS.

THE CRADLES FOR THE BABIES THAT

WE MAKE, I'VE PROBABLY CHANGED

THE MOST OF ANYTHING I WEAVE.

THIS IS A BASIC FRAME. IT'S MADE

OUT OF WILLOW AND THEN HAS THESE

OAK SLATS THAT GO ACROSS. OUR

ANCESTORS DIDN'T USE THIS AS A

BABY CRADLE, THEY USED IT AS A

BABY CARRIER. SO THIS IS A

FINISHED CHUMASH CRADLE BOARD.

AND NOW IT HAS LOOPS. IT'S GOT

LOOPS THAT RUN DOWN THE SIDES,

AND IT'S LIKE A SHOESTRING

BINDER, AND YOU PUT THE BABY IN.

AND THIS IS TULE, THAT I

GATHERED TODAY FOR US. WHEN YOU

CHANGE FROM THINKING ABOUT

BASKETRY AND WEAVING AS STRICTLY

FUNCTIONAL AND RECOGNIZE THAT

EVEN IN THE FUNCTION, THERE'S

ART, HOW FAR CAN YOU STRETCH

THAT ART? YOU COULD STRETCH IT

ANY WAY YOU WANT. MY JOY AS AN

ARTIST IS TO START COMBINING AND

STRETCHING MY THOUGHTS ABOUT MY

WEAVING.

CUTCHA: WITH COLONIZATION,

EVERYTHING CHANGES. IT'S AN

INVASION OF WHO WE ARE AS A

PEOPLE. IT'S AN ATTEMPTED

DESTRUCTION OF WHO WE ARE.

IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA, THEY HAD

TO DEAL WITH BOTH THE MISSIONARY

AND THE MEXICAN-AMERICAN WAR AND

THE RANCHO SYSTEM ON TOP OF

THAT. THEY HAD LIKE 3 CONSTANT

PRESSURES AND DESTRUCTION COMING

AGAINST THEM.

DEANA: WITH THE ESTABLISHMENT

OF THE SPANISH MISSIONS, MANY OF

THE ARTISTS, MANY OF THE WOMEN

WEAVERS NO LONGER HAD THE

FREEDOM TO GO AND GATHER IN

THEIR TRADITIONAL PLACES. AND SO

IN SOME CASES, THEY WERE FORCED

TO USE WHATEVER WAS AVAILABLE

TO THEM ON MISSION GROUNDS. SO,

ACCESS AND THE FREEDOM TO GATHER

AND TO PARTICIPATE IN

TRADITIONAL ACTIVITIES WAS ALL

BUT HALTED IN THE COASTAL

COMMUNITIES WHERE THE MISSIONS

WERE PRESENT.

[RUSTLING SOUNDS]

[SAWING SOUNDS]

LINDA: AH HA HA HA.

EACH SEDGE RUNNER NEEDS TO BE

SPLIT DOWN THE CENTER

LENGTHWISE. SO I MAKE A LITTLE

SLIT WITH A KNIFE AT ONE END.

AND THEN JUST CAREFULLY SPLIT IT

DOWN THE CENTER.

AND NOW I NEED

TO REMOVE THE BARK.

AFTER I'VE PUT BACK THE GROUND,

COVERED UP WHAT I'VE DONE, THEN

THEN I SING THIS SONG THAT'S

VERY SIMPLE, IS VERY MUCH LIKE

OUR TRADITIONAL SONGS ARE BUILT,

AND IT IS TELLING THE SEDGES,

THANK YOU, THE SEDGES ARE

BEAUTIFUL AND IT'S A BEAUTIFUL

SEDGE PLACE. WHICH IT IS. HA HA.

[SINGING IN OHLONE LANGUAGE]

[DOG BARKING, BIRDS CHIRPING]

OHLONE BASKETS ARE VERY RARE

TODAY. IT'S BECAUSE OF

THE EARLY IMPACT OF THE SPANISH

MISSIONS. THE MISSION HERE,

MISSION SAN CARLOS IN CARMEL,

WAS ONLY THE SECOND MISSION

ESTABLISHED, AND THAT WAS IN

1770 HERE. AND THE FACT THAT

SOME OF OUR MOST SPECTACULAR

BASKETS ENDED UP BEING TAKEN TO

EUROPE BY EARLY EUROPEAN

VISITORS. I WANT TO BRING THESE

VARIOUS TYPES OF BASKETS BACK

THAT WE DON'T HAVE. WHEN I KNEW

THAT I WANTED TO START MAKING

OUR BASKETRY, I FIRST HAD TO

FIGURE OUT WHAT OUR BASKETRY

ACTUALLY WAS. YOU KNOW, A LOT OF

THINGS CHANGED, AND LIKEWISE

WITH MUSEUMS. IT WAS MUCH MORE

COMMON IN THOSE DAYS FOR THE

DOORS TO BE CLOSED TO A REGULAR

PERSON, SOMEONE WITH NO Ph.D.

BEHIND THEIR NAME, AND YET THEY

HAD A CULTURAL CONNECTION. AND

SO THROUGH THESE MEETINGS AND,

YOU KNOW, GETTING TO KNOW PEOPLE

AND HAVING THEM UNDERSTAND, THAT

ACCESS BECAME EASY. IT ACTUALLY

IS FAIRLY STANDARD PRACTICE NOW.

THROUGH RESEARCH FROM

ETHNOGRAPHIC MATERIALS, OLD

DRAWINGS, FOR EXAMPLE, OF SOME

EARLY VISITORS, I'M ABLE TO FIND

THESE LITTLE BITS OF INFORMATION

AND PUT THE PIECES OF THE PUZZLE

TOGETHER, AND THEN SEE WHAT THEY

LOOK LIKE, HOW THAT BEAUTY--

BECAUSE I WANT PEOPLE TO BE UP

CLOSE AND PERSONAL. THE BEAUTY,

THE INTRICACY, BECAUSE I THINK

WHEN PEOPLE HAVE SOMETHING

TANGIBLE TO LOOK AT, TO HOLD,

IT'S GOING TO BRING RESPECT

TO OUR ANCESTORS.

IN THIS KIND OF COILED WEAVING,

THIS IS A 3-ROD COILED BASKET,

AS OPPOSED TO A SINGLE-ROD OR

A ONE-ROD. THESE TWO STICKS THAT

ARE SITTING SIDE BY SIDE, AND

THEN THE THIRD ONE IS SITTING ON

TOP OF THOSE TWO IN THE LITTLE

GROOVE. SO THAT'S THE CASE FOR

THE WHOLE COILING PROCESS, WHICH

MEANS THAT THERE ARE 3 STICKS

LIKE THIS, TWO SIDE BY SIDE AND

ONE SITTING ON TOP IN THE ROW

BELOW THAT I'VE ALREADY WRAPPED

AND STITCHED, WRAPPED AND

STITCHED. NOW I'M WRAPPING AND

STITCHING THIS CURRENT ROW.

OBVIOUSLY I HAVE TO ANCHOR IT

TO SOMETHING, SO I'M ANCHORING

IT TO THE ROW BELOW BY POKING A

HOLE WITH AN AWL, RUNNING THE

STITCH THROUGH, PULLING IT

TIGHT. BUT, WHEN I PUSH MY AWL

IN TO MAKE A HOLE, I AM TRYING

TO PICK UP THAT TOP STICK FROM

THE ROW BELOW. SO THERE'S NOT

REALLY ANY SPACE, AND I'M JUST

BASICALLY HAVING TO MUSCLE MY

WAY THROUGH THE ROW BELOW IN

ORDER TO MAKE EACH STICK. SO,

BASKETRY IS NOT FOR WIMPS.

[CHUCKLES]

I HAVE COME TO SPECIALIZE IN

DOING FEATHERED BASKETRY.

THE MAJORITY OF OUR FEATHERED

BASKETS, THAT WE KNOW OF,

ESPECIALLY THE ONES WITH THE

LITTLE DISC SHELL BEADS, HAVE AS

THE BACKGROUND FEATHER, MOSTLY

ACORN WOODPECKER FEATHERS. AND

THERE'S A MIGRATORY BIRD ACT

THAT ACTUALLY PROHIBITS THE

COLLECTING OF OR EVEN

POSSESSION OF MOST BIRD

FEATHERS. DEFINITELY IS A LITTLE

BIT OF A PROBLEM FOR A PERSON

WHO WANTS TO WEAVE WITH

FEATHERS.

AND SO I ENDED UP LOOKING ONLINE

AND LOOKING AT CHICKEN FEATHERS.

I'D BUY THESE CHICKEN FEATHERS,

I'D DYE THEM, AND THEN I HAVE TO

CLIP, CLIP, CLIP AND SNIP, SNIP,

SNIP. SO THAT HAS BEEN MY

ADAPTATION TO THE MODERN WORLD

AND ITS LAWS AND REGULATIONS

AND LACK OF ACCESSIBILITY.

FOR ME, IT'S SO IMPORTANT

WHATEVER I BRING BACK, I WANT IT

TO BE REAL. I DON'T WANT IT TO

BE PRETEND. I DON'T WANT TO LIKE

CREATE SOMETHING NEW BASED ON

STEREOTYPES. I WANT IT TO BE

REAL. I WANT TO HONOR OUR

ANCESTORS BY DOING IT THEIR WAY,

BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT IT'S ALL

ABOUT. IT'S ABOUT THE CONNECTION

WITH THE PAST, DOING THINGS THE

WAY THEY DID SO THAT WE CAN

CARRY IT ON, NOT MAKE UP

SOMETHING NEW AND PRETEND LIKE

IT WAS THEIRS.

A LOT OF THE TIMES, THE THINGS

THAT WE DON'T HAVE THAT BECOME

SO INTENSELY IMPORTANT TO US

BECAUSE OF THEIR ABSENCE, AND

THAT'S HOW IT'S BEEN FOR US FOR

A LOT OF CULTURAL THINGS,

INCLUDING OUR BASKETS.

CUTCHA: I THINK IN NORTHERN

CALIFORNIA, WHAT THEY SAY ABOUT

US IS WE WERE RELATIVELY LATE

TO THE COLONIZATION ASPECT OF

WHAT WAS GOING ON IN HISTORY.

SHELLY COVERT: MOST OF THE

PEOPLE WHO CAME FOR THE GOLD

RUSH REALLY CAME BETWEEN 1849

AND 1856. SO WITHIN THAT

6-7-YEAR PERIOD, THE CULTURE WAS

ALMOST COMPLETELY WIPED OUT.

THERE WAS ALMOST A FULL GENOCIDE

HERE.

JUSTIN FARMER: AT ONE TIME, THE

STATE OFFERED A BOUNTY OF $100

PER SCALP FOR A MAN AND $50 FOR

A WOMAN AND $25 FOR A GIRL, OR

ELSE AN INFANT.

SHELLY: IT WASN'T JUST THE GREAT

INFLUX OF PEOPLE THAT DEVASTATED

THE CULTURE, AND OF COURSE,

THERE WAS A LOT OF MURDER AND

DISCRIMINATION. LIKE IT WAS THE

DESTRUCTION OF THE LAND AND

EVERYTHING THAT OUR TRIBAL

PEOPLE HERE USED FOR LIFE. ALL

OF THE PLANTS AND ANIMALS,

EVERYTHING WAS COMPLETELY

DEVASTATED AND GONE AT THE TIME

OF THE GOLD RUSH. IT STARTED

WITH THE GOLD RUSH, BUT THEN AS

PEOPLE CAME AND SETTLED, JUST

THE EXPANSION WESTWARD WAS

ANOTHER BLOW TO THE PEOPLE.

SHERRIE: THEY WANTED TO AMPLIFY

IT. YOU SEE THIS TRAJECTORY FROM

NATIVE PEOPLE MAKING BASKESTS

FOR FOR NATIVE USE TO NATIVE

PEOPLE EXPERIENCING CATACLYSMIC

CHANGE IN THEIR WORLD.

HUGE NUMBERS OF THEIR COMMUNITY

MEMBERS DYING, LOSS OF THEIR

HOMES, LOTS OF VIOLENCE, LOTS OF

DISPLACEMENT. VERY FEW PEOPLE

ARE ABLE TO SURVIVE, AND ONCE

THEY DO, THEY'RE LOOKING AT,

HOW ARE WE GOING TO LIVE?

DEANA: SALVAGE ETHNOGRAPHY

DEFINES A PERIOD AFTER INITIAL

CONTACT AND THE UPHEAVAL THAT

CAME ALONG WITH THAT.

ANTHROPOLOGISTS, PRIMARILY,

GATHERING AS MUCH CULTURAL

MATERIALS FROM INDIGENOUS

COMMUNITIES ALL OVER THE WORLD,

BUT HERE IN NORTH AMERICA,

GATHERING THOSE MATERIALS AND

SHIPPING THEM TO PLACES LIKE THE

SMITHSONIAN. IT INVOLVED MOSTLY

LOOTING, SOME PURCHASING FROM

COMMUNITIES THAT WERE IN

DISTRESS. THERE WAS A NOTION

AMONG THE ANTHROPOLOGISTS THAT

NATIVE CULTURES WERE ALL DYING

AND THAT THEY NEEDED TO COLLECT

THIS MATERIAL SO THAT THEY COULD

TELL THEIR STORY ONCE THEY WERE

EXTINCT.

UNEARTHING BURIALS IN CEMETERIES

OF PEOPLE WHO HAD JUST RECENTLY

PASSED, YOU KNOW, UM, YOU NAME

IT. THEY COLLECTED NOT ONLY

OBJECTS BUT HUMAN REMAINS.

CUTCHA: STARTING FROM FIRST

CONTACT, THEY WERE COLLECTING,

AND NOT COLLECTING IN A WAY THAT

WOULD HAVE SAID, "WE WANT TO PAY

HOMAGE TO HOW GREAT THIS IS,"

BUT IN A WAY OF LIKE, "WE DON'T

THINK YOU GUYS ARE GONNA BE

AROUND THAT LONG, SO WE WANT TO

MAKE SURE WE HAVE ALL OF THESE

THINGS."

SHERRIE: ONE OF THE THINGS THAT

THEY NEED TO DO IS FOR THE FIRST

TIME HAVE A SOURCE OF MONEY.

MAKE A LIVING IN A DIFFERENT WAY

SINCE THEY'RE NOT ABLE TO LIVE

OFF THE NATURAL WORLD AROUND

THEM ANYMORE. NOW THEY'RE GOING

TO HAVE TO START BUYING FOOD,

THEY'RE GONNA HAVE TO START

BUYING CLOTHES. A LOT OF THE

THINGS THAT BASKETS WERE USED

FOR ARE REPLACED BY NEW GOODS,

LIKE DISHES AND POTS AND PANS

AND BOXES AND BAGS. YOU KNOW,

ALL OF THESE KIND OF HOUSEHOLD

THINGS, YOU KNOW, THOSE ALL

USED TO BE BASKETS.

BASKETS START LOSING SOME OF

THEIR JOBS IN DAILY LIFE, IN A

SENSE. THE SALE OF BASKETS

STARTS TO OFTEN BECOME A WAY FOR

NATIVE PEOPLE TO MAKE MONEY, AND

THAT IS SOMETHING THAT EVERYBODY

NEEDS NOW. AND THERE ARE VERY

FEW OPPORTUNITIES--OTHER

OPPORTUNITIES TO DO THAT.

ALL OF A SUDDEN, NATIVE PEOPLE

ARE MAKING BASKETS TO BE ABLE TO

SELL TO NON-NATIVE PEOPLE, AND

BASKETS CHANGE AS A RESULT OF

THAT.

DEANA: LESS UTILITARIAN AND MUCH

MORE DECORATIVE, THE DESIGN

ELEMENTS START TAKING ON A MORE

SORT OF VICTORIAN, MUCH MORE

REPRESENTATIVE. SO YOU SEE

FLOWERS, YOU SEE WORDS, YOU SEE

SOMEONE'S NAME, THE PERSON THAT

THE BASKET'S BEING MADE FOR.

YOU'LL SEE BOTTLES THAT ARE

COVERED WITH BASKETRY, OR YOU'LL

SEE A WOVEN TEAPOT THAT

OBVIOUSLY COULD NEVER BE USED

OR LITTLE TEACUPS THAT WOULD

NEVER BE ACTUALLY USED. AND THEN

THE MATERIALS, TOO, SO YOU SEE

AN INTRODUCTION OF COMMERCIAL

MATERIALS AND COMMERCIAL DYES.

SHERRIE: ONE OF THE THINGS YOU

START TO SEE IS, THINGS DO GET

SMALLER FOR THE MARKET.

IT MADE SENSE FOR COLLECTORS.

THEY'RE EASIER TO SHIP, THEY'RE

EASIER TO DISPLAY, AND THEY'RE

CUTE. I MEAN, THERE'S THIS WHOLE

KIND OF CUTENESS FACTOR TO THE

LITTLE SORT OF SMALL-SCALE

THINGS THAT PEOPLE HAVE ALWAYS

LIKED. SO THIS IS OUR SMALLEST

BASKET. AND I'VE SEEN A NUMBER

SMALLER THAN THAT. IT'S GOT A

DESIGN ON IT, SO IT MEANS THAT

SOMEBODY HAS STARTED AND STOPPED

TWO DIFFERENT KINDS OF MATERIAL.

I HAVE NO IDEA HOW THE LADIES

DID IT. TOTALLY MARKET DRIVEN.

AND YOU CAN SELL IT FOR QUITE A

BIT. PEOPLE WANTED TO HAVE THE

BEST. AND THEY WANTED THEIR

COLLECTIONS BE SPECIAL, UNIQUE.

SO THEY WERE TRYING TO FIND

MEASURES OF THAT. SO THEY

STARTED TO DO THINGS LIKE COUNT

THE STITCHES PER LINEAR INCH.

THIS IS THAT KIND OF A TECHNIQUE

CALLED 3-ROD COILING. THESE

COILS THEY WOULD SORT OF COUNT

HOW MANY PER LINEAR INCH.

SO THE FINER IT WAS, THE MORE IT

WAS VALUED. YOU KNOW, THERE'S

NO, AGAIN, NO UTILITY TO MAKING

IT REALLY, REALLY FINE. IT TAKES

A TON MORE TIME TO PREPARE THE

MATERIALS THAT FINELY.

CUTCHA: THERE ARE LARGE, LARGE

STORES THAT POP UP DURING THIS

PERIOD OF TIME OF JUST PEOPLE

BUYING BASKET AFTER BASKET THAT

THEY COULD FIND, BRINGING THEM

INTO STORES AND THEN RESELLING

THEM TO PEOPLE.

BRYAN TAYLOR: THEY CALL IT THE

CURIO PERIOD WHEN BASKETS BECAME

VERY VOGUE TO COLLECT.

ARISTOCRATS AND EVERYDAY PEOPLE

WERE COLLECTING BASKETS IN THAT

PERIOD. IT WENT ALL THE WAY TO

THE DEPRESSION. IT WAS VERY

VOGUE TO HAVE THEM UP IN YOUR

HOUSE, TO HAVE A CABINET FULL OF

NATIVE AMERICAN BASKETS. AND

THERE WAS NEWSPAPER ARTICLES,

THERE WERE BOOKS WRITTEN THEN,

THE SMITHSONIAN CAME OUT WITH

THE BASKET EDITION IN 1902. SO

THERE'S A LOT OF OTHER MATERIALS

THAT INFLUENCED THE MARKET AT

THAT TIME, TOO.

I REMEMBER MY FOLKS BUYING THEIR

FIRST BASKET FOR $100 IN THE

1960S. THAT WAS MORE THAN OUR

HOUSE PAYMENT THEN, AND IT TOOK

A LOT TO SPEND $100 THEN ON A

BASKET. SO THE MARKET WAS SO

VARIED, FROM THE VERY RICH

COLLECTING, TO THE BEGINNER

COLLECTOR LIKE MY FATHER WAS.

THIS WAS OUR SPARE

BEDROOM AT MY HOUSE GROWING UP

AS A KID, WITH MY PARENTS'

PERSONAL BASKET COLLECTION,

WHICH I STILL HAVE A NUMBER OF

THESE BASKETS MYSELF.

COLLECTING BASKETS IS A VERY

PERSONAL THING. I THINK IT IS IN

THE ART WORLD, TOO. IT'S WHAT

YOU LIKE, AND IF PEOPLE ARE

DRAWN TO THEM AND SEE THE

AESTHETIC BEAUTY OF BASKETS,

THEY'RE GONNA COLLECT, BECAUSE

THAT'S WHAT'S IN THEIR HEART.

THEY WERE MASTER MATHEMATICIANS

TO KEEP THAT DESIGN ELEMENT IN

THEIR HEAD AND THE STITCH COUNT.

THERE WAS NO GRAPH PAPER, THERE

WAS NOTHING WRITTEN DOWN, IT WAS

ALL UP HERE. AND THAT JUST COMES

FROM EXPERIENCE.

THESE BASKETS HERE ARE FROM MY

PERSONAL COLLECTION, AND I

BROUGHT THESE LIKE AS AN EXAMPLE

BECAUSE I KNOW WHO MADE THESE

BASKETS. WHICH MAKES A BIG

DIFFERENCE, 'CAUSE IN THE PAST,

A LOT OF COLLECTORS, YOU KNOW,

INCLUDING MY FATHER, DIDN'T KEEP

NAMES ON BASKETS. SO IT WAS

REALLY TOUGH TO ATTRIBUTE

BASKETS TO MAKERS. UM, THESE I

KNOW. THIS IS LEONA BOWMAN,

WHICH IS, I THINK SHE'S A MONO

WEAVER. BUT THIS WAS A CHRISTMAS

GIFT IN 1947, SO THIS IS REALLY

A GOOD WEAVE FOR THAT PERIOD.

AND THEN THIS IS PROBABLY A

LITTLE EARLIER, THE 1930S OR SO,

AND THIS WAS MADE BY MARY

SAMPSON. BUT YOU CAN SEE IT'S

LIKE A NEXT STEP UP IN WEAVING.

THE DESIGN ELEMENT, THE FINENESS

OF THE WEAVE. EVEN THOUGH LEONA

BOWMAN MADE SOME REALLY FINE

BASKETS, TOO, THIS IS JUST AN

EXAMPLE OF WEAVING.

AND THEN THIS IS MRS. DICK

FRANCISCO. AND YOU CAN SEE THE

QUALITY JUST REALLY JUMPS OUT

WHEN YOU GET INTO A MRS. DICK

FRANCISCO BASKET OR A MARY

TUPENOT BASKET, WHICH THE STITCH

COUNT REALLY COMES UP. 'CAUSE,

YOU KNOW, FOR NATIVE BASKETS,

YOU GO BY STITCH COUNT AND COIL

COUNT FOR THE FINEST OF THE

WEAVE. AND JUST SEEING THEM

HERE, YOU CAN SEE THE

PROGRESSION OF THE FINENESS OF

THE WEAVE. AND THAT IS WHAT A

COLLECTOR IS LOOKING FOR--

STITCH COUNT AND COIL COUNT

ON A COIL BASKET.

JUSTIN: I LOOK AT BASKETRY

AS NOT ONLY AN ART FORM, BUT

REPRESENTING A CULTURE.

I CUT OFF THE RIM OF THE BOTTOM

SO THAT I CAN USE THAT FOR

PATTERN MATERIAL.

I'M DYING BLACK. AND THIS HAS

BEEN IN THERE FOR 2 OR 3 WEEKS.

THE QUALITY OF A BASKET TO ME

IS THE WORKMANSHIP.

THERE ARE SOME BASKETS HERE THAT

HAVE A VERY PLAIN, UM, PATTERN.

BUT THE WORKMANSHIP IS GOOD.

SO THE VALUE IS GOOD. IF YOU

FIND A BASKET WITH GOOD

WORKMANSHIP AND GOOD PATTERNS,

YOU GET THE ULTIMATE. DIAMONDS

AND TRIANGLES WERE VERY COMMON.

THIS BIG BASKET HERE FLARES OUT,

AND THEREFORE, THE MOTIF CAN BE

EXACT. NOW, IT DOESN'T SLANT

VERY MUCH, BUT YOU SEE A SLIGHT

SLANT THERE? THAT TELLS YOU WHAT

DIRECTION IT COILS. IF IT COILS

RIGHT-HAND, THE STITCHES ARE

GONNA BE UP AND TO THE LEFT.

AND THAT AFFECTS THE WHOLE

WEAVING STYLE. SO WHAT YOU DO IS

YOU TRY TO AVOID ALIGNED ON

THE LEFT SIDE.

THE PEOPLE IN WHAT IS NOW BAJA

CALIFORNIA, THE PAIPAIS AND THE

KUMIAIS, WE ALL SPOKE THE SAME

LANGUAGE, AND WE WERE COUSINS,

IF YOU WILL. PRETTY MUCH THE

SAME PEOPLE. THE INTERNATIONAL

BORDER WAS DRAWN, AND THE TEEPAI

PEOPLE FROM NORTH OF THE BORDER

WERE BARRED FROM CALIFORNIA, AND

INDEED UP UNTIL ABOUT 40 YEARS

AGO, THAT BORDER MORE OR LESS

PRECLUDED THE KUMIAI PEOPLE FROM

ENTERING THE UNITED STATES.

EVA SALAZAR: I'VE BEEN WEAVING

FOR A LONG TIME, MORE THAN 25,

26 YEARS. I STARTED WHEN I WAS

7, 8 YEARS OLD, WORKING

ON BASKETS. SO WHEN I COME TO

THE U.S., I LEARN HERE WITH

JUSTIN FARMER. I LEARNED WITH

HIM, TOO, JUST THE SUMAC, DEER

GRASS. SO FROM THERE, I NEVER

STOP. I GOES AND COLLECT FOR

4 OR 5 MONTHS, BECAUSE WHEN I

COLLECT IT, I COLLECT A LOT.

[PLANTS CREAKING]

I'M VERY FAST COLLECTING JUNCUS

AND TRYING TO GET OFF THE BROWN

RIGHT HERE.

JUNCUS IS VERY IMPORTANT TO GET

THE BROWN. THAT'S THE ONE THAT

MAKES, YOU KNOW, ALL THOSE

DIFFERENT COLORS IN THE BASKETS.

[SPEAKING KUMIAI]

MICKEY: OK.

EVA: HOW YOU DOING OVER THERE?

MICKEY: [INDISTINCT]

EVA: HOW MUCH JUNCUS HAVE YOU

EVEN COLLECTED ALREADY?

A WHOLE BUNCH?

MICKEY: A LITTLE BIT.

EVA: OH.

MICKEY: GOOD BUNCH RIGHT HERE.

GOOD RED ROOT. WITH THE JUNCUS,

THAT GIVES THE RED COLOR, BUT

THEN WHEN YOU WANT WHITE, THAT'S

WHEN YOU USE SUMAC OR DEER

GRASS, WHICH WE'LL BE PICKING UP

LATER. BUT RED'S PROBABLY THE

HARDEST, BECAUSE YOU ONLY GET SO

LITTLE OF IT, BUT IT'S ALWAYS

THAT NICE RED COLOR.

I GOT THE GOOD STUFF.

EVA: YEAH, I KNOW.

YOU GOT MORE THAN ME.

I'M SURPRISED.

MICKEY: I THINK IT'S NOT THAT

HEAVY, BUT--HA HA--IT'S STILL

FRESH. IT HAS WATER IN IT.

EVA: SOME PEOPLE THINK WE BUY

ALL OF OUR STUFF AT WAL-MART OR

WE BUY THE STUFF AT MICHAEL'S.

NO. WE DON'T BUY THAT STUFF.

SOME PEOPLE, THEY DON'T KNOW

ABOUT BASKETS. THEY ASK ME,

"OH, WHERE YOU BUY YOUR

MATERIAL?" I SAY,

"NO, I GO AND COLLECT

MY OWN MATERIALS."

WE GONNA TRY AND LOOK FOR THE

DEER GRASS.

HERE'S THE BLACK JUNCUS RIGHT

HERE. SO I'M GOING TO SOAK IT

RIGHT THERE, AND THEN I'M GONNA

GET, UH, THE JUNCUS, A LONG

JUNCUS, SO I'M GOING TO SPLIT

THAT, TOO. THEN I USE LIKE, I

DON'T KNOW, 20, 30 STICK. I JUST

SPLIT IT AND THEN SOAK IT IN

WATER.

[SINGING IN KUMIAI]

AND THEN YOU GOTTA WAIT FOR LIKE

AN HOUR TO GET READY, SO AFTER

THAT, YOU WORK ON YOUR BASKET.

WHATEVER THAT COMES ON MY HEAD,

I START DOING IT. LIKE ONE TIME

I WAS WORKING ON A BASKET AND

THERE WAS SOME FLOWERS FIRST,

AND I WAS THINKING, "EH." I

THINK ON MY MOM, I THINK ON MY

AUNT, AND I SAY, "OK, BOTH OF

THEM. THEY'RE NOT GETTING ALONG.

THEY'RE NOT NICE NO MORE," AND

THAT'S THE STORY I PUT ON THE

BASKET. TWO LADIES RIGHT HERE--

ONE HERE, ONE HERE. AND THEN

FROM THERE, I START PUTTING TWO

RATTLESNAKES. ONE IS MY MOM AND

THE OTHER ONE IS MY AUNT.

SO THAT ONE IS WHEN THERE WAS

LIKE GOOD PEOPLE TALKING TO EACH

OTHER, AND THEN THAT ONE IS WHEN

THERE WAS FIGHTING BEFORE. SO

IT'S JUST LIKE I'M GONNA START

ANOTHER BASKET, BUT IT JUST

TAKES SO LONG TO DO A BASKET,

LIKE THAT, WITH STORY, YOU KNOW?

[LAUGHS]

I'M SO PROUD OF MYSELF, DOING

THAT, AND THEN I'M GOING TO DO

IT WHEN I'M NOT--I WANT TO SAY

LIKE WHEN I CANNOT SEE.

BUT I'M GONNA GET MY GLASSES.

IT'S STILL WORKING. HA HA HA!

I FEEL LIKE A BASKET IS ART. FOR

ALL THE PEOPLE WHO MAKE BASKETS,

THAT'S ART. WHEN YOU STRESS AND

THEN YOU GET YOUR BASKET AND

YOU'RE WEAVING, ON THAT STRETCHY

HALF, BECAUSE THEY GO IN THE

BASKET. WHEN THE ART PAINT OR

SOMETHING LIKE THAT, THOSE ARE

SO MUCH WORK, TOO. PEOPLE DON'T

SEE THAT, ALL THOSE DETAILS, YOU

KNOW, THEY HAVE ON A PAINTING,

BUT, YOU KNOW, SAME ON THE

BASKET. YOU CAN SEE IT'S SO

BEAUTIFUL, THAT BASKET, BUT YOU

DON'T SEE HOW MUCH DETAIL

THEY HAVE.

SHERRIE: I'M SURE OTHER WEAVERS

HAVE TALKED ABOUT THIS, THAT

IT'S SOMETHING THAT IS ALMOST

MEDITATIVE, AND THERE'S A GREAT

DEAL OF TEACHING ABOUT HOW YOU

WANT TO BE IN A GOOD PLACE

WHEN YOU'RE MAKING A BASKET,

BECAUSE THE BASKET IS GOING TO

EMBODY KIND OF YOUR BEING AT

THAT TIME. AND SO A LOT OF

WEAVERS WILL PUT SOMETHING

AWAY IF THEY'RE UPSET OR ANGRY

OR FRUSTRATED. YOU JUST DON'T

WANT TO WORK AT THAT TIME.

AND IT ALSO CALLS FOR A GREAT

DEAL OF, FOR LACK OF A BETTER

WORD, WHAT I'VE LEARNED TO CALL

PICKINESS, PERFECTION.

YOU HAVE TO BE PAYING SO MUCH

ATTENTION TO THE DETAILS, UH,

IN TERMS OF THE MATERIAL, AND

THINGS HAVE TO BE PERFECT. YOU

KNOW, THERE REALLY HAS TO BE

UH, KIND OF A COMPULSIVENESS

TO GET EVERYTHING EXACTLY RIGHT,

OR ELSE IT WON'T WORK.

AND THAT DOES MEAN THAT YOU

REALLY HAVE TO BE DETAIL

ORIENTED AND QUALITY ORIENTED.

DEANA: NOW WE'VE GOT AN

INCREDIBLE RESURGENCE IN

TRADITIONAL BASKET-MAKING.

THE QUALITY, THE RETURN TO

TRADITIONAL MATERIALS, RETURN TO

TRADITIONAL FORMS, AND THE

ATTENTION TO DETAIL IN MAKING

THOSE MATERIALS FOR THE LOVE OF

MAKING ART. THOSE MATERIALS ARE

BEING TAKEN CARE OF BY THOSE

SAME WOMEN WHO ARE WEAVING. AND

THEY'RE BRINGING BACK THE SONGS

AND THE STORIES. AND PEOPLE LIKE

MY COUSIN TIMA, YOU KNOW, SHE'S

IN THE ARCHIVES, AND SHE'S

VISITING WITH THE, UM, WITH

THOSE TRADITIONAL BASKETS THAT

ARE IN MUSEUM COLLECTIONS TO--

TO REALLY LEARN FROM THEM. AND

THEIR WHOLE PURPOSE IS TO

REVITALIZE IT FOR THE NEXT

GENERATION. AND SO THEY'RE

TEACHING. THEY'RE NOT ONLY

GATHERING ALL OF THIS

INFORMATION AND MAKING THEIR OWN

ART, BUT THEY'RE ALSO SHARING IT

WITH THE COMMUNITY, IN THE MOST

GENEROUS, BEAUTIFUL WAY.

TIMARA: EVERY CULTURE

AROUND THE WORLD CHANGES,

INNOVATES, MOVES FORWARD,

AND IF THEY DON'T,

THEIR CULTURE DIES. WEAVERS HERE

IN CALIFORNIA, WE'RE UNDER,

ACTUALLY, A LOT OF PRESSURE

NOT TO CHANGE, NOT TO INNOVATE,

NOT TO MOVE FORWARD FROM

THE OUTSIDE WORLD. SO WE'VE GOT

ANTHROPOLOGISTS OVER OUR

SHOULDER, WE'VE GOT BASKET

"EXPERTS" OVER OUR SHOULDERS,

WE'VE GOT BUYERS AND SELLERS

AND ANTHROPOLOGISTS IN MUSEUMS,

AND EVERYONE'S LOOKING. IF YOU

TAKE ONE STEP OUTSIDE OF THIS

SORT OF BOX THAT THEY'VE

DECIDED IS TRADITIONAL,

THEN WHAT YOU'RE DOING, TO THEM,

ISN'T TRUE BASKETRY,

ISN'T TRUE TRADITION.

WHAT'S HARD FOR US IS, AS A

WEAVER, MY OBLIGATION ISN'T TO

THEM. IT'S TO MY COMMUNITY.

MY OBLIGATION IS TO MAKE SURE

THAT WHATEVER CHANGES HAPPEN IN

OUR COMMUNITY, THAT I RESPOND TO

THEM AND HELP OUR CULTURE MOVE

FORWARD.

MY FAVORITE MOMENT AS A WEAVER

IS WHEN I HAVE TO INNOVATE, I

HAVE TO CHANGE SOMETHING.

SO I'LL LOOK AT THIS OBJECT

THAT I'M MAKING, AND I'M LIKE,

HOW AM I GONNA FIX THIS PROBLEM?

HOW AM I GONNA CHANGE THIS AND

FIX THE PROBLEM. I WEAVE FOR THE

NEEDS OF MY COMMUNITY, BUT EVERY

ONCE IN A WHILE, I WEAVE 'CAUSE

I WANT TO. SO YOU ALSO HAVE A

NEED AS AN ARTIST, AND WE MAKE

OUR HOODS OUT OF TULE. IT'S

ALWAYS OUT OF TULE. WHETHER IT'S

GOT THIS DECORATIVE ELEMENT OR

IT'S SMOOTH OR I PUT SHELLS ON

IT OR RIBBONS, IT'S ALWAYS TULE.

BUT IT DOESN'T HAVE TO BE.

WHAT IF I WOVE A HOOD OUT OF

COIL BASKETRY? ANOTHER STYLE

BASKETRY THAT WE DO, BUT I SHAPE

IT LIKE A HOOD? I COULD GET

PATTERNS INTO THAT HOOD. I'M

STILL WEAVING EXACTLY THE WAY I

WEAVE ALL THE TIME. I HAVEN'T

CHANGED ANYTHING. IT PASSES MY

QUESTION OF, DOES IT CONNECT

WITH THE LANDSCAPE? NOT

INTRODUCING NEW MATERIALS OR

THINGS THAT WOULDN'T WORK. SO,

THAT'S MY NEXT CHALLENGE.

CUTCHA: OUR STORY HAS ALWAYS

BEEN, WHAT DO WE NEED TO DO TO

MAKE SURE THAT WE ARE ALWAYS

HERE? AND HOW CAN WE MAKE PLANS

FOR ALWAYS BEING HERE?

AND IT MIGHT HAVE JUST BEEN

VERY FEW. IT COULD HAVE BEEN,

YOU KNOW, AS LITTLE AS LIKE ONE

TO TWO PEOPLE THAT ARE HOLDING

ON TO ONE ASPECT OF IT. BUT THAT

WAS WHAT WE KNEW WE HAD TO DO

TO MAKE SURE THAT IT WAS THERE

FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS.

BRITTANI: THAT'S SUCH AN

INHERENT PART OF BEING AN

INDIGENOUS PERSON, TOO.

IT'S LIKE YOU TAKE THE TOOLS OF

COLONIZATION, RIGHT? YOU TAKE

ALL THESE THINGS THAT YOU HAVE

TO WORK WITH NOW,

BECAUSE THIS ISN'T THE WAY

IT HAS BEEN, AND IT ISN'T

THE WAY IT USED TO BE. THIS

ISN'T WHAT OUR ANCESTORS HAD TO

DO. BUT YOU TAKE IT, AND THEN

YOU USE THOSE THINGS THAT

COLONIZATION HAS GIVEN YOU AND

THEN BRING IT BACK TO OUR

TRADITIONS. WE MAYBE GROW OUR

OWN BASKETRY MATERIAL, WE, YOU

KNOW, ADVOCATE FOR OURSELVES

THROUGH POLICY DECISIONS,

WE WRITE BOOKS,

WE BECOME ACADEMICS,

WE PERPETUATE OUR TRADITIONAL

ECOLOGICAL KNOWLEDGE, SO I THINK

THAT'S A VERY POWERFUL THING.

CUTCHA: WE ARE A FORWARD

THINKING PEOPLE. WE WERE NEVER

MAKING PLANS NOT TO BE HERE AND

ALIVE AND SOVEREIGN AND

SELF-DETERMINING. WE WERE NEVER

UNDER THE IMPRESSION THAT WE

WERE DYING OR ON OUR WAY OUT,

SO OUR PLANS WERE ALWAYS FOR THE

FUTURE AND THINKING ABOUT THE

NEXT GENERATION AND THE

GENERATION AFTER THAT.

CLINT McKAY: YEAH, MY FAVORITE

PART IS JUST KNOWING THAT THIS

IS WHERE MY AUNTIES AND MY

PEOPLE HAVE BEEN GATHERING FOR A

LONG TIME. AS YOU CAN SEE HERE,

MY WHOLE FAMILY IS HERE. MY WIFE

IS HERE, MY CHILDREN, MY

GRANDKIDS. WHEN WE START

CLEANING THESE OFF, THEN THAT'S

WHEN WE'LL START TELLING STORIES

AND TALKING ABOUT THE OLD PEOPLE

AND THE TIMES THAT WE WERE OUT

HERE WITH OUR AUNTIES, AND IT'S

JUST A--IT'S A CONNECTION.

THIS OUTER HUSK COMES OFF, AND

THAT LITTLE WHITE CENTER IN

THERE, THAT'S ACTUALLY THE ROOT,

SO ALL THIS HUSK HAS TO BE

CLEANED OFF, AND JUST THAT

LITTLE WHITE ROOT IN THE MIDDLE

IS REALLY WHAT WE'RE AFTER.

THAT'S AN AVERAGE-SIZE BULRUSH

ROOT.

WE DON'T MANAGE THE LAND OR THE

ANIMALS HERE. WE SURVIVE BECAUSE

OF WHAT THEY OFFER US. AND SOME

PEOPLE TALK ABOUT TAKE,

YOU KNOW, AND THEY SAY IT IN

A POLITE WAY.

WELL, FOR US, THE VERY WORD

TAKE JUST DOESN'T SIT WELL

WITH US. AGAIN, IT'S LIKE WE'RE

MANAGING, WE'RE TAKING

SOMETHING. WE RECEIVE WHAT THE

LAND OFFERS US.

I WAS PROBABLY ABOUT 18,

AND I WAS LIVING ON THE

RESERVATION RIGHT NEXT TO MY

AUNTIE LAURA SOMERSAL. JUST ONE

DAY, WE WERE SITTING DOWN THERE

TALKING AND VISITING WITH HER,

AND I SAID, YOU KNOW, AUNTIE, I

SAID, THINK I MIGHT WANT TO TRY

TO START A BASKET. AND SO SHE

REACHED DOWN AND GRABBED A

BUNDLE OF ROOTS AND TIED ME

A STARTING KNOT.

I STARTED WEAVING.

THEY ARE STILL MY TEACHERS. THEY

TEACH ME EVERY DAY. I STILL CALL

UPON THEM AND ASK THEM TO HELP

ME AND TEACH ME, AND THEY DO.

AUNTIE LAURA SOMERSAL IS MY

GREAT-AUNT, AND SHE IS DRY CREEK

POMO AND WAPO. AND AUNTIE MABEL

IS MY GREAT-AUNT AS WELL, AND

SHE IS CACHE CREEK POMO AND

WINTUN. SO THEY ARE THE REAL

DEAL. THEY ARE--I MEAN, IF YOU

WANT TO BE AN INDIAN, YOU WANT

TO BE LIKE THEM. THERE'S A DEEP

PART INSIDE ME THAT WANTS TO LET

THEM KNOW THAT, YOU KNOW, WHAT

THEY WENT THROUGH TO BE ABLE TO

KEEP THESE TRADITIONS AND OUR

CULTURE ALIVE, ISN'T GOING TO BE

WASTED. AND I FEEL STRONG THAT

THIS IS WHAT'S RIGHT FOR ME AND

FOR MY FAMILY, SO, UM, I FORCED

MY CHILDREN TO LEARN HOW TO DO

THIS. I DON'T FORCE THEM TO DO

IT, BUT I MADE THEM LEARN HOW.

AND THEN IF THEY WANT TO DO IT,

THEY CAN. IT'S ALL THOSE

STORIES, IT'S ALL THOSE

TRADITIONS OF EARLY DAYS.

THROUGH THOSE STORIES AND

THROUGH THOSE EXPERIENCES, MY

GRANDCHILDREN, WHO MIGHT NEVER

HAVE MET THEM IN PERSON, FEEL AS

IF THEY KNOW THEM. AND IN FACT,

THEY DO. THROUGH THOSE STORIES

AND THROUGH THOSE MEMORIES, MY

GRANDKIDS ARE ABLE TO INTERACT

WITH THEIR ANCESTORS.

WILVERNA REECE: WE WEAVE WITH 4

STRANDS, AND THE COLOR IS ON THE

BOTTOM, AND THEN YOU HAVE THE

ROOT ON TOP. AND SO WHEN YOU

WEAVE AROUND YOUR STICK, IT'S

ON TOP THERE AND IT'S NOT IN THE

BACK. YOUR COLOR'S ON THE BOTTOM

AND THE WEAVER ON TOP, WHICH

SHOWS, ONLY THING, THE ROOT ON

THE BACK SIDE.

AND THEN THERE'S ANOTHER TRIBE

THAT HAS IT WHERE THEY DO A

DOUBLE TWIST AND YOU HAVE THE

DESIGN INSIDE AND ON THE

OUTSIDE. I'D LIKE TO SEE THAT.

[TELEPHONE RINGS]

HELLO.

DEANA: HI, WILVERNA, IT'S

DEANA.

WILVERNA: HI, DEANA.

DEANA: HOW ARE YOU?

WILVERNA: I'M FINE.

DEANA: ARE YOU GOING TO HAVE

CLASS TODAY?

WILVERNA: YES, I AM.

DEANA: OK. I'M COMING UP.

WILVERNA: OK, WE'LL SEE YOU WHEN

YOU GET HERE.

SO MY TEACHER, WHEN SHE TAUGHT

ME, SHE SAID, "I'M TEACHING YOU

SO THAT YOU KEEP OUR CULTURE

GOING." SO I'M DOING IT.

IT'S REWARDING.

IT MAKES YOU FEEL GOOD.

WOMAN: AND YOUR HEIGHT LOOKS

GOOD, FLOREEN.

FLOREEN: THANK YOU.

[INDISTINCT CONVERSATION]

WILVERNA: OK, NOW YOU JUST...

YOU BRING THIS FORWARD, AND THEN

YOU JUST STICK YOUR ROOT IN

THERE LIKE THAT.

BRING IT DOWN UNDERNEATH THE

NEXT WEAVER.

STUDENT: OH.

WILVERNA: IT'S GOTTA GO IN

THERE. THEN THESE GO LIKE THAT.

AND THEN WHEN YOU GO AROUND

HERE, ADD A STICK WITH THAT ONE

AND THIS ONE.

SO THIS IS, UH, SOME OF THE

STUFF THAT WE GOT OFF THE RIVER.

AND THEN YOU TAKE THAT OUTSIDE

LAYER OFF. AND THAT'S IT.

THEN YOU HAVE THIS GREAT BIG

ONE.

YOU GET THEM SPLIT.

AND THAT'S ALL YOU DO.

SPLIT IT, SCRAPE IT.

THAT'S THE PROCESS.

WHEN I SEE THEM OUT THERE

GATHERING WITHOUT ME TAKING

THEM, THEN I KNOW THAT THEY'RE

ON THEIR WAY AND THEY REALLY

HAVE INTEREST. BUT WHAT I WANT

THEM TO BE ABLE TO COME OUT HERE

AND KNOW THE SEASONS, HOW TO

GATHER, HOW TO PREPARE. YOU

DON'T JUST PICK THIS UP AND

START WEAVING WITH IT.

YOU GOTTA SEASON IT FOR A YEAR.

YOU KNOW, ALL THAT STUFF HAS TO

BE LEARNED.

DEANA: MUSEUMS LIKE THE MET AND

THE DE YOUNG ARE STARTING TO

INCORPORATE TRADITIONAL WORK

THAT MIGHT HAVE EARLIER BEEN

CONSIDERED ETHNOGRAPHIC OR

PRIMITIVE ARTS OR CRAFT, BECAUSE

IT HAD A UTILITARIAN USE OR

BECAUSE IT WAS MADE WITH NATURAL

PRODUCTS. WE'RE SEEING AN

INTEGRATION INTO THE AMERICAN

GALLERIES AT THE MET. AND FOR

THE LONGEST TIME, THOSE OF US

WHO ARE NATIVE AND NATIVE ART

ENTHUSIASTS OR NATIVE ART

SCHOLARS, HAVE BEEN WONDERING

WHY WE ARE SEPARATE FROM

AMERICAN ART OR WHY WE ARE

SEPARATE FROM CONTEMPORARY ART.

AND WE'RE STARTING TO SEE A

BLURRING OF THOSE LINES, THANK

GOODNESS. IT'S A LONG TIME

COMING.

CUTCHA: I REMEMBER ONE TIME I

TOOK MY DAUGHTER TO THE ART

MUSEUM IN SAN FRANCISCO, AND

THERE WAS THIS DISPLAY OF

CALIFORNIA INDIAN BASKETS, AND

SHE JUST LOOKED AT ME AND SAID,

"ARE WE FAMOUS?" LIKE, SHE KIND

OF DIDN'T HAVE THIS IDEA THAT

LIKE BASKETS WERE THIS GREAT

COLLECTIBLE ITEM. IN HER MIND,

IT'S THIS THING THAT YOU USE IN

CEREMONY. BUT THERE HAS ALWAYS

BEEN A SUSTAINED ART MARKET FOR

CALIFORNIA INDIAN BASKETRY.

SOMETIMES, I THINK, TO THE

DETRIMENT OF ACTUAL LIVING

CALIFORNIA INDIAN PEOPLE.

AT FIRST WHEN I STARTED GOING

TO THESE SHOWS WHERE THEY WOULD

HAVE LARGE COLLECTORS WHO WERE

SELLING OFF ITEMS, I WOULD GET

VERY SAD ABOUT THEM, BECAUSE

MUCH OF WHAT WAS FOR SALE ARE

THINGS THAT YOU WOULD HOPE WOULD

SOMEHOW FIND THEIR WAY BACK HOME

TO BE ABLE TO USE.

I THINK AS I PARTICIPATED MORE

IN THEM, I STARTED TO SEE LIKE

THE IMPORTANCE OF OUR

INTERVENTION AS LIVING NATIVE

PEOPLE TO BE IN THOSE SPACES.

COLLECTORS HAVE STARTED

TO LOOK FOR US.

I MEAN, WHEN WE SHOW UP, THEY

KIND OF GO, "OH, WE HAVE THIS

BEAUTIFUL HAT. WE KNOW IT'S

GONNA FIT YOU, AND WE KNOW

YOU'RE GONNA WEAR IT." AND THEY

START TO THINK OF THEM IN VERY

DIFFERENT WAYS. AND WE'VE BEEN

ABLE TO DO THAT JUST BY BEING IN

THOSE SPACES, JUST BY

SORT OF SAYING WE'RE ACTUALLY

USING THESE THINGS AND THEY MEAN

SOMETHING TO US. THE ASPECT OF

US AS LIVING PEOPLE IN THOSE

SPACES I THINK HAVE BECOME VERY

IMPORTANT.

SHERRIE: TODAY YOU'LL SEE

WEAVERS THAT ARE NOT JUST FROM

ONE TRIBAL TRADITION, BUT FROM

SEVERAL TRIBAL TRADITIONS THAT

ARE MIXING AND MATCHING OR

WEAVERS THAT ARE FROM ONE TRIBAL

TRADITION THAT ARE LIVING

SOMEWHERE ELSE, AND SO THEY'RE

USING THOSE MATERIALS WITH THEIR

WHOLE STYLE OF WEAVING METHODS.

IT'S MUCH MORE JUST LIKE THE

WORLD TODAY. IT'S MUCH MORE

DIVERSE AND MULTICULTURAL.

CALIFORNIA BASKETRY IS MOVING

WITH THE TIMES.

CUTCHA: I DO THINK THAT NOW WHEN

YOU HAVE MODERN WEAVERS, THEY

ARE VERY MUCH PARTICIPATING IN

THE ART MARKET. THEY'RE BRINGING

THEIR MODERN WORK AND THEY'RE

SELLING IT TO PEOPLE. AND I

THINK IT'S ALSO A REALLY

POWERFUL WAY OF SHOWING THAT OUR

ARTWORK IS VERY MODERN TO THE

TIME. WE CAN MAKE ADAPTATIONS

THAT ALLOW US TO PARTICIPATE IN

A SORT OF LIKE MODERN ART MARKET

AND THAT THESE DESIGNS AND THIS

WAY THAT WE MAKE THINGS REALLY

STANDS THE TEST OF TIME.

ANNOUNCER: "ARTBOUND" IS MADE

POSSIBLE IN PART BY THE LOS

ANGELES COUNTY BOARD OF

SUPERVISORS THROUGH THE LOS

ANGELES COUNTY ARTS COMMISSION,

THE CITY OF LOS ANGELES

DEPARTMENT OF CULTURAL AFFAIRS,

THE CALIFORNIA ARTS COUNCIL,

AND OTHERS.

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