Thursday, April 17, 2014

Weaving and Protecting a History: A Conversation with Basket-Maker Kelly Church (Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Ojibwe)

Baskets made by Kelly Church (Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Ojibwe). Photo courtesy of The National Museum of the American Indian and Kelly Church.
Baskets made by Kelly Church (Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Ojibwe).
Photo courtesy of The National Museum of the American Indian and Kelly Church.
March 14, 2014.
Paul Niemi, of The National Museum of the American Indian, has written an interesting and informative blog interview with basket maker Kelly Church (Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Ojibwe) describing her work as an Anishinaabe artist along with the long tradition associated within her family for basket making.

"She says modern-day indigenous people of the Great Lakes make baskets for their own utilitarian purposes. Today's needs are somewhat different, but all in all, tradition finds its place with necessity. Fancy baskets are meant to be eye-catching and pleasing. As in days of old, they are made to sell on the collectors' market to help support the maker's family. "We are influenced and live in a much different world than our ancestors, but we honor them in all ways still," Church says. That includes harvesting trees by family, processing the materials together, and weaving baskets for use and shoonya (money). "We still lay down our saama(tobacco) and give our thanks. Our basket styles and shapes are influenced by our everyday lives." "
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