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Identifying Sto:lo basketry : exploring different ways of knowing material culture Fortney, Sharon M. 2001

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IDENTIFYING STO:LO B A S K E T R Y : E X P L O R I N G DIFFERENT W A Y S OF KNOWING MATERIAL CULTURE by SHARON M. FORTNEY B . A . , The University of Calgary, 1996 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN P A R T I A L F U L F I L L M E N T OF T H E R E Q U I R E M E N T S F O R T H E D E G R E E OF M A S T E R OF ARTS in  T H E F A C U L T Y OF G R A D U A T E STUDIES Department of Anthropology  and Sociology  We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard  Dr. Ruth Phillips, Advisor (Department of Anthropology)  Dr. E l i z a b e M Johnson, Departmental Member (Depa^me/ijrof Anth^pojo^gyJ  T H E U N I V E R S I T Y OF BRITISH C O L U M B I A March 2001 © Sharon Michelle Fortney, 2001  In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department  or  by his or  her representatives.  It  is understood  that copying or  publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission.  Department The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada  DE-6 (2/88)  ABSTRACT  Coast Salish coiled basketry has been a much-neglected area o f research. Previous investigations into this topic have been primarily concerned with geo-cultural distributions, and discussions pertaining to stylistic attributes. In recent years several scholars have turned their attention to the topic of Salish weavings, but they have focused their efforts quite narrowly on textiles made from wool and other similar fibres to the exclusion o f weaving techniques such as basketry which utilise local roots and barks. This thesis w i l l focus exclusively on one type of Salish basketry - coiled basketry. In this thesis I explore different ways o f identifying, or "knowing", Coast Salish coiled cedar root basketry. I specifically focus on St6:lo basketry and identify three ways in which Sto.lo basket makers "know" these objects. First I discuss the Halkomelem terminology and what insights it provides to indigenous classification systems. Secondly, I situate coiled basketry in a broader Coast Salish weaving complex in order to discuss how basketry is influenced by other textile arts. This also enables me to explore how St6:lo weavers identify a well-made object. In the final section I discuss ownership of designs by individuals and their families. This research draws primarily from interviews conducted with St6:lo basket makers between M a y and September 2000 in their communities and at the Museum o f Anthropology at U B C . It is supplemented by interviews with basket makers from other Salish communities and by the ethnographic literature on this topic.  11  TABLE OF CONTENTS  Abstract  ii  Table o f Contents  iii  List o f Tables  iv  List o f Figures  v  Acknowledgements  vi  Introduction  1  Exploring the Boundaries of Language: H o w the Halkomelem Terminology defines a Basket  12  Technical Knowledge: Principles of Design and the Aesthetics of St6:lo Coiled Basketry  24  Family Tradition: Ownership o f Designs and Technical Knowledge  37  Concluding Remarks  46  References  49  Appendix 1: Satet te siwes / Continuing Traditions Exhibit labels  53  in  LIST OF TABLES Table 1: Additional Skills Practised by the St6:lo Women Interviewed  27  Table 2: Relationships of Contemporary St6:lo Basket Makers to their Students  38  \  iv  LIST OF FIGURES  Figure 1: M a p identifying Distribution of Coast Salish Languages  3  Figure 2: St6:lo Basket Makers at the Museum of Anthropology  9  Figure 3: Tsimshian Style Baskets with Salish Design Elements  28  Figure 4: St6:lo Coiled Cedar Root Basket from Burnaby Lake area  29  Figure 5: St6:lo Coiled Cedar Root Basket from Tzeachton  30  Figure 6: Basket made by Joan Chapman of Chehalis  41  Figure 7: Tray with design owned by the Emory of Yale  42  ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Several people made this research possible by sharing their expertise and reminiscences on basket making with me. I would like to thank all of the St6:lo basket makers that I talked with: Elizabeth Herrling, Rosaleen George, Rena Point Bolton,» Minnie Peters, Joan Chapman, Bruce Chapman, Wendy Ritchie, and Frieda George. I would also like to thank Verley N e d of St6:lo Shxweli for providing me with spellings of the Halkomelem terms that arose during interviews with Elizabeth and Rosaleen. I also acknowledge Sonny McHalsie, Keith Carlson and David Smith o f the Aboriginal Rights and Title Department of the St6:lo Nation for giving me guidance during my first ethnographic fieldwork experience. I also received support and assistance from staff at the Museum of Anthropology, including Dr. Elizabeth Johnson, Ethnology Curator; Dr. Ruth Phillips, Museum Director; Anne Stevenson, Collections Manager; and Pam Brown, Curator of Ethnology and Media. Dr. Bruce M i l l e r of the U B C Department of Anthropology was instrumental in helping me to make contacts with the St6:lo Nation and in supervising my fieldwork. Dr. R. G . Matson marked this thesis and made several helpful comments. I would also like to thank my family for encouraging me to return to school, specifically my husband Michael Fortney and my parents Linda and Dieter Waetzold. Dr. Gerry Conaty, a former supervisor at the Glenbow Museum in Calgary also offered several kind words o f support and encouragement. Finally I would like to thank my grandmother, the late Maryanne Pollner, for the times she shared her stories about basket making with me.  vi  INTRODUCTION  This thesis examines indigenous perspectives on one area o f a broader Coast Salish weaving complex - coiled cedar root basketry. Typically researchers write about the geographical and cultural distribution o f "Indian" basketry or basketry styles and attributes (Haeberlin et al. 1928; Mason 1904; Harvey 1986; Peabody Turnbaugh and Turnbaugh 1986; Jones 1982; James 1972). For example, coiled basketry is usually classified by examining foundation materials and stitching methods as detailed in James Adovasio's book, Basketry Technology (1977). While these types o f studies contribute to our understanding o f how "Indian" basketry is made, they fail to explore what baskets can tell us about the people that make and use them. Similarly, they also fail to report on how the people who make these objects talk about and describe them. Contemporary museum professionals, such as Susan Pearce, are trying to reconcile the gap that exists between visual perception and oral description. Pearce notes that: This huge gap between our ability to perceive material and our capacity to express what we see linguistically suggests that objects play a larger part in the processes which produce social structure than we are usually prepared to admit: suggests, indeed, that our ability to produce a world o f things is a fundamental part o f our ability to create social lives and to feel at ' h o m e ' in them. (1992:23)  In essence, the language we use to describe objects reflects our attempts to situate the material within a specific system of cultural knowledge. Academic disciplines also develop specialised language to describe and classify material culture. Yet what do these technical descriptions and typologies really represent i f not our own knowledge frameworks? Where do we locate the ethnographic other within these knowledge  1  frameworks? W h y have we often given precedence to western classification systems rather than those which reflect an object's origins? In this thesis I w i l l address some o f these questions by exploring multiple ways o f knowing St6:lo coiled basketry. While my analysis is influenced by several methods, I employ conversation analysis as a primary tool for understanding how St6:lo basket makers construct and relate emic knowledge frameworks when speaking about their coiled basketry. Typically, conversation analysis is used within an ethnomethodological theoretical framework, since ethnomethodology: is especially attuned to communicative activity. From this perspective, conversation is the machinery o f reality construction. Ethnomethodological method talk, then is largely "talk about talk." Its mandate is not only for the researcher to watch, but also and especially to listen, in order to discern how reality is produced (Gubrium and Holstein 1997:8).  With conversation analysis the researcher examines dialogue to identify underlying patterns which show "how people, in their everyday lives, constitute the world as a recognisable state o f affairs (Watson 1996:74)." While ethnomethodologists use conversation analysis only for "naturally occurring" conversation, I decided it could also be employed as a tool for analysing transcripts from my interviews with St6:lo basket makers since these interviews were unstructured in nature. B y unstructured I mean that I did not follow a rigid list o f interview questions. In addition, I often employed silence as a means o f eliciting further information on a topic, as well as to ensure that a speaker had finished relating a particular thought. I also was not concerned i f the answers to my questions seemed to diverge from the original topic of the question, since I felt that in such instances the question and the response were most likely related in the mind of the speaker. I felt certain that later analysis would clarify and reveal these connections. This is how I came  2  to formulate the three emic perspectives on coiled basketry that I present within these pages - identification through language, technique and aesthetic, and design ownership. Along the Northwest Coast coiled basketry is only associated with the Coast Salish. It is thought to have diffused into coastal communities from the adjacent StTatTimx peoples to the Northeast and the Nlaka'pamux peoples to the East (Haeberlin et al. 1928; Johnson and Bernick 1986; Suttles 1987). In the ethnographic literature, and in present day communities, it is not uncommon for Coast Salish basket makers to discuss coiled basketry in terms of "Lillooet," "Mount Currie" and "Douglas" (Stl'atl'imx) or "Thompson" (Nlaka'pamux) styles, lending support to a Plateau origin. Since no archaeological Coast Salish coiled basketry has been recovered at this time, many researcher believe that it has been recently introduced into the region, perhaps in the last two centuries (Haeberlin et al. 1928; Bernick 2000). F i g u r e 1: M a p i d e n t i f y i n g D i s t r i b u t i o n o f Coast Salish L a n g u a g e s (shaded areas). T h e St6:lo are U p r i v e r H a l k o m e l e m speakers.  © 1 9 9 4 U B C M u s e u m of Anthropology. M a p r e p r o d u c e d w i t h permission of the U B C M u s e u m o f A n t h r o p o l o g y .  3  The Nlaka'pamux and Stl'atl'imx live in geographically distinct areas with variations in available plant resources and so use slightly different materials when constructing their baskets. The Nlaka'pamux style, which uses pieces o f cedar roots as the foundation for the coils, is typically characterised as finer work and results in rounder and tighter coils. B y contrast S t l ' a t r i m x coiled baskets have coils which are flatter and more rectangular in shape since the cedar roots are sewn around a foundation made from strips o f cedar sapling wood. A l o n g the Coast, specifically among the St6:lo peoples o f the Lower Fraser Basin, it is common to see the two styles used both separately and in combination. Contemporary St6:lo basket makers distinguish between the two. by calling the former "coiled" and the later "slat", although from a western perspective both are considered coiled basketry. Coiled basketry represents a large portion o f Coast Salish ethnographic material in Canadian museums and interpretive centres such as: the Glenbow Museum in Calgary, Alberta; the Museum of Anthropology in Vancouver, B C ; the Royal British Columbia Museum i n Victoria, B C ; the Vancouver Museum; Xa:ytem Longhouse Interpretive Centre near Mission, B C and Shxwt'a:selhawtxw - the House o f L o n g A g o and Today in Sardis, B C . In addition to these institutions, other museums in North America and Europe formed large ethnographic collections o f Northwest Coast material culture in the late part of the nineteenth century and the early portion o f the twentieth century (Cole 1985; Jonaitis 1988). Their collection mandates were oriented towards preserving the last vestiges o f what they perceived as the dying cultures of the First Peoples o f North America. Ethnographers like Franz Boas were especially concerned with assembling  4  complete collections that represented every aspect o f the daily life o f these peoples (Jacknis 1985; Jonaitis 1988). Since the Coast Salish were situated in the areas of British Columbia and Washington State that were most densely populated by colonising peoples, it is not surprising that many o f these collections contain large numbers o f Coast Salish objects including coiled baskets. Given the gender biases of the profession o f anthropology during this period, it is also not surprising that little was done to document the provenance o f the many baskets that were collected from this vast area o f the Northwest Coast, since weaving is traditionally associated with women in this region. When contrasted with the monumental wooden sculptures and houses that characterise the region as a whole, baskets must have seemed insignificant to many museum collectors by comparison. In addition to ethnographic field collecting, many o f the baskets that made their way into these larger museum collections were originally privately owned. During my research I reviewed accession and catalogue records from the Museum o f Anthropology and the Vancouver Museum, as well as those held by the St6:lo Nation Archives for Xa:ytem and Shxwt'a:selhawtxw. The basket collections o f these institutions are partially, and sometimes totally, comprised o f the private collections o f individual collectors - usually women who made their homes in British Columbia during the later portion o f the nineteenth century and the early portion o f the twentieth century. Baskets were also, and continue to be, acquired individually through direct gifts and purchases from basket makers or other owners. During this period basket making was an important economic activity for indigenous women with higher numbers of women learning and practising this skill  5  (Laforet and Y o r k 1998; Knight 1978; Wright 1996). Many o f the contemporary basket makers with whom I have spoken recall past excursions to sell and trade baskets in local and distant communities. For them, baskets were a means o f obtaining food, clothing and other household items during the lean interwar years. The baskets that they made were easily transported and thus widely dispersed. Provenance was often lost during this flurry of basket making activity and subsequent dispersals, and while today there are many coiled baskets residing in museum collections around the world there are very few with known makers or communities. This lack o f documentation was central in my mind while I was defining a research project for my Master o f Arts degree. After deciding to focus on coiled basketry as a topic, I wondered i f it would be possible to produce an identification guide o f regional styles and designs that might be used to classify museum collections and other anonymous baskets. This would require investigating whether each family, community or region has its own distinctive style o f basket making in terms of technique and design elements. It would also require an understanding of how the knowledge o f basket making is shared within these social units. Since this topic could conceivably encompass many years o f research, due to the many communities and bands which occupy the Coast Salish traditional territories, I narrowed the focus o f my research to examining St6:lo basketry. There are twenty-four reserves within the St6:lo territories located along the Lower Fraser River; currently twenty-one of these reserves or bands are affiliated with the larger political body known as the St6:lo Nation (Kew and M i l l e r 1999). I spoke with basket makers from six of these twenty-four communities while conducting my field  6  research. They lived on the following reserves near Chilliwack, Agassiz and Hope: Skwah, Squiala, Skowkale, Seabird Island, Chehalis and the Peters Reserve. The basket makers that I spoke with were chosen in consultation with employees from the Aboriginal Rights and Titles Division of the St6:lo Nation. A n appendix from Priya Helwig's unpublished resource booklet, Contemporary Women Artists (1993), assisted with the selection process by identifying the communities with known basket makers. The basket makers chosen included five Elders, each from a different community, and two younger women who were students of two o f the former group. Four of the Elders selected had previously contributed to an exhibit called Through My Eyes held at the Vancouver Museum, the fifth was highlighted in the Vancouver A r t Gallery's Topographies exhibit, and thus were known to be receptive to researchers. After completing the U B C ethical review process, and gaining approval from St6:lo Nation Aboriginal Rights and Title staff, I conducted initial interviews with these seven basket makers in their homes or offices at the St6:lo Nation. These interviews were audiotaped and later transcribed. I then made the transcripts available to the basket makers and they were given the opportunity to remove or edit content. With the consent of the basket makers, I also made copies o f the final version of each transcript available to the St6:lo Nation Archives. I later invited the basket makers to the Museum o f Anthropology to view and discuss baskets and other weavings in the permanent collections. These two sessions were also audiotaped and transcribed and the resulting transcripts were again shared with the basket makers. Final versions of these transcripts were also deposited with the St6:lo Nation Archives and with the Museum o f Anthropology at U B C . Funding was provided  7  for this second portion of my research by the Museum of Anthropology through a Museums Assistance Program grant for collection documentation projects. Later I also received additional funding for a graduating exhibit to accompany this thesis. I selected 100 baskets for the St6:lo basket makers to view on their first visit; twenty-two were baskets known to be from the St6:lo area. The remaining seventy-eight baskets were selected because catalogue records suggested that they may have been acquired within the vicinity of the Fraser River - traditional St6:lo territory. A small number o f new acquisitions with unclear cultural designations were also included in this sample. During the second visit the basket makers viewed items from their area that they were unable to see on their first visit: basketry cradles and textiles such as wool blankets and tumplines. The basket makers from St6:lo communities who contributed to my research were: Rosaleen George o f Skwah, Elizabeth Herrling of Seabird Island and her granddaughter Frieda George o f the Squiala, Joan Chapman o f Chehalis, Rena Point Bolton and her daughter Wendy Ritchie o f Skowkale, and Nlaka'pamux Elder Minnie Peters o f the Peters Reserve. I have included Minnie Peters with the St6:lo basket makers because she has spent all of her married life in a St6:lo community. In addition, Minnie learned basket making from her grandmother and a great aunt in Spuzzum - a community which sits on the border o f Nlaka'pamux and St6:lo traditional territory. While I had identified a clear set of research questions, as mentioned previously, interviews were kept informal in nature. M y objective was to encourage reminiscence about basketry, rather than following a rigid set o f interview questions, so that I could  8  understand the necessary cultural framework and ask appropriate questions in later interviews. Figure 2: St6:lo Basket Makers at the Museum of Anthropology during their first visit on July 4, 2000.  Front Row, L - R : Verley Ned, Rosaleen George Second Row, L - R : Elizabeth Herrling, Frieda George Third Row, L - R : Anita Herle (Curator, Cambridge University Museum), Joan Chapman, Minnie Peters, Sharon Fortney (Graduate Student, Department of Anthropology) Back: Dr. Elizabeth Johnson (Curator, Museum of Anthropology)  A s my research progressed it became apparent that identifying distinctive traits, which would delineate firm borders in the transmission o f knowledge, would require imposing artificial and incorrect typologies. I observed that many designs and techniques  9  are located throughout the traditional territories o f the St6:lo and beyond in the territories of neighboring Salish groups. This pattern o f dispersal mimics the long standing and contemporary marriage practices of the St6:lo, demonstrating the strengthening o f local and regional political connections through high status marriages with neighboring, and sometimes distant, Salish communities (Barnett 1955; Suttles 1987). Young basket makers draw upon the experience o f a variety o f older family members, and these family members may all live in the same community or they may be scattered in many geographically separate areas. Rather than imposing a classification scheme on St6:lo basketry, which would not be true to what I have already learned while working with basket makers and museum collections, my thesis w i l l instead attempt to explore the meanings that these baskets have for the people that create them today. B y exploring the Halkomelem terminology that distinguishes techniques and forms I hope to provide the reader with insight into how the St6:lo identify, or "know", these objects. Next I w i l l situate coiled basketry within a broader tradition o f weaving by discussing how various forms of textile production, including coiled basketry, influence each other, and by exploring the traits that characterise a well made basket or weaving. Finally I w i l l explore several social and political themes surrounding the ownership o f the knowledge o f basket making and designs conveyed to me by the basket makers themselves. Thus my thesis will draw upon three different ways o f knowing or identifying St6:lo coiled basketry. The presentation style that I have chosen for my work was inspired by a chapter in Crisca Bierwert's book Brushed By Cedar, Living by the River (1999). In this chapter, called Figures in the Landscape, Bierwert presents five ways of knowing a place to  10  convey to the reader how the St6:lo perceive the landscape around them as having layers of multiple meanings, each in its own way containing truth and power. I hope to achieve a similar experience for the reader within these pages and hope to convey that a basket can be much more than a utilitarian or aesthetic object, and that there are many ways to "know" a basket.  11  EXPLORING THE BOUNDARIES OF LANGUAGE: HOW THE HALKOMELEM TERMINOLOGY DEFINES A BASKET  When looking at an object westernised peoples often describe it by labelling or listing its features or by talking about the function that it serves. The importance that we assign to any particular feature, such as colour or size, gives insights into what we, as members o f a social group, think is necessary to logical classification. Often we assume that our cultural norms and categories are universals - that they are representative of those used by other cultures who occupy a contemporary time period with us. Similarly we may assume that our standards o f logic are the same as those understood by our predecessors, and we may erroneously judge their past behaviours and accomplishments by our contemporary knowledge of the world. We forget that the rationale behind any classification system shapes the knowledge of the people who use it; in other words our classification systems are based upon what we as a society "know" or "recognise" about the world we live in. Since cultures are dynamic and not static entities, these systems of knowledge change and differ accordingly. In his writings cultural historian M i c h e l Foucault explores changing categories o f knowledge which he calls epistemes. In the preface o f his book, The Order of Things, An Archaeology of the Human Sciences, he declares: what I am attempting to bring to light is the epistemological field, the episteme in which knowledge, envisaged apart from all criteria having reference to its rational value or its objective forms, grounds its positivity and thereby manifests a history which is not that o f its growing perfection, but rather that o f its conditions o f possibility (1994:xxii).  It is the last portion o f this statement which is key to my discussion, the "conditions of possibility" which define any system of knowledge. Since objects are by their very nature  12  enmeshed with the cultural epistemes which contain them, museum professionals and other social scientists must wrestle with the task o f comprehending the worldview o f others since much o f what they do is centred around representation. In another work, museum theorist Eilean Hooper-Greenhill embraces Foucault's epistemes in her search for an effective history o f the museum. She defines an effective history as one that: focuses on those very long-term movements that span the centuries, which are often ignored by normal history which prefers to look at more immediate and short-term activities. Effective history also prioritises the breaks and ruptures which signal abrupt endings and painful new beginnings, violent change and disruption. These too are often not analysed, precisely because links and continuity are sought in order to justify and sustain present day practices (1992:11).  In essence, effective history exists in opposition to normative accounts which mask differences and homogenise the past. A parallel can be seen in how objects have been represented in museums. Exhibits often feature specific types o f objects arranged in ways that are meaningful to a general audience, allowing them to draw upon their daily experiences to interpret them. A r t Historian Michael Baxandall critiques such arrangements stating that "faced by an assemblage of culturally coherent objects, the viewer is less alerted to his own cultural distance; cultural distance is not built into the display (1991:40)." In the past museums have sought to emphasise similarities by employing typological arrangements that encouraged cultural comparisons (Chapman 1985; Jacknis 1985; Hinsley 1981; Jonaitis 1988). Today in the wake o f post-modernism these institutions are now seeking to redefine their role in representation, moving away from the Euro-centric accounts which characterised them in the past towards multi-vocal accounts which reflect diversity. Cultural relativism is once again guiding the politics o f  13  display, yet the slow changing permanent galleries o f many museums do not yet reflect the changing approaches o f the professionals responsible for their upkeep. Not surprisingly, the institutions which best represent the emic knowledge systems o f the ethnographic other are the ones that are run by those people themselves (Conaty and Janes 1997; Clifford 1991). In a recent paper, Canadian museum professionals Gerry Conaty and Robert Janes noted that: Native worldview is so fundamentally different from the scientific perspective that the two do not really mesh. Usually, it is the Native knowledge that is relegated to quaint sidebars in an exhibition, while the museum remains the temple of knowledge as defined by the curators... We can see the results of these assumptions in the ways that artifacts are catalogued and cared for, and in the exhibits and public programs of our museums. When artifacts are catalogued they are grouped into Western technological categories (e.g. clothing and adornment; hunting, fishing and warfare; cooking tools). Often these systems work well, providing an accessible guide to collections. Just as often, however, these categories obscure important cultural attitudes... Efforts at the Makah Cultural Center in Ozette, Washington have been directed towards using Makah categories, so that canoes, for example, are grouped with containers, not transportation gear. Alternative, non-western systems of classification do provide insights to the diverse nature of culture (1997:32).  While systems o f classification are used to group different types of objects together in a culturally cohesive way, they are also used to identify the various components which comprise the object as a whole. During interviews with St6:lo Elders Elizabeth Herrling and Rosaleen George I sought to explore how the Halkomelem terminology employed to describe coiled baskets identified the emic classifications o f these St6:lo weavers. Since I do not have a background i n linguistics Verley Ned, a textbook writer for St6:lo Shxweli, kindly assisted me by transcribing the Halkomelem words. A l l o f the St6:lo basket makers that I spoke with differentiated between the two types o f coiled cedar root baskets - those made with cedar slats as the foundation and the finer work or ts'a:th' made with cedar roots. This is also a linguistic distinction for the  14  St6:lo. The following excerpt from an interview with Elizabeth and Rosaleen demonstrates this distinction:  Sharon:  . . . Was there a difference in the way you would say a name, like a bark basket versus a coiled basket? Were they called differently?  Elizabeth:  Y e a h that's ts'o'qw isn't it. Ts'o'qw, and the other?  Rosaleen:  A h ah, ts'o'qw.  Sharon:  W h i c h is which?  Elizabeth:  That's the fine. The one that you call the coil basket?  Sharon:  Yeah.  Elizabeth:  T h e real fine work?  Sharon:  Yeah.  Elizabeth:  That's the.only real difference, and then the ones that you make with the...make with the...  Sharon:  Bark?  Elizabeth:  N o t the bark, the...[faint word] that's made with the cedar sticks like. T h e y ' r e wide.  Sharon:  O h like the cedar slats baskets? But they're still kind o f coiled?  Elizabeth:  Y e a h . Y e a h , but you wrap it with the roots like that. (2000c)  The coiled cedar root baskets made with cedar slats had two distinct names to describe them as the following excerpt from the same interview demonstrates:  Sharon:  What did you say the name o f the one made out o f sticks was?  Elizabeth:  That's the cedar...cedar uh...root basket I think they call it.  Sharon:  But there was no Halkomelem term o r . . . ?  Elizabeth:  It had two different names for that didn't it? Susekw' and ts'emetel.  Rosaleen:  A h ah. Ts'emetel is the cedar sticks.  Elizabeth:  Y e a h cedar sticks.  Sharon:  Okay.  Elizabeth:  A n d then the susekw' was the same. (2000c) 15  A s these excerpts demonstrate coiled baskets are distinguished based upon the construction materials involved. The characteristics o f size and shape are not mentioned as important for identification. While both the "slat" and the "coiled root" baskets involve the basket maker sewing coils o f cedar roots with an awl, St6:lo basket makers perceive a difference based upon what goes into the foundation of the coils and this is reflected i n how they talk about and name these baskets. When looking at a diagram depicting a group o f different shapes and sizes o f storage baskets (see Figure 26, Haeberlin et al. 1928:197), Elizabeth identified them all as being the types of baskets that were  ts'o'qw or susekw' and ts'emetel. The main  perceived difference between these types o f baskets was technical in that Elizabeth noted that with the latter method "you can make it square." Unfortunately I did not discover why there are two terms for the cedar slat baskets. Questioning also revealed that Elders Elizabeth and Rosaleen do not immediately consider function when determining how to name or classify a basket, as the following excerpt demonstrates:  Sharon:  So all the shapes o f baskets just went by the type o f basket they were? [We are still discussing the differences between ts'o'qw or susekw' and ts'emetel]  Elizabeth:  Yeah.  Sharon:  It didn't matter what size or...?  Elizabeth:  No.  Sharon:  N o , no distinction?  Elizabeth:  N o . N o , you could just make them for putting whatever little...  Rosaleen:  Trinkets in.  Elizabeth:  Trinkets or whatever you have. A n d i f you making a larger one, y o u use it for a sewing basket and you put your sewing or whatever in it and...[Laughs].  16  Sharon:  So... if something was a berry basket it wouldn't have a different name? Like berry basket?  Elizabeth:  The berry baskets, I don't know what they called them. [Pause] Just berry...berry basket,  slhi:m. Rosaleen:  That's all Granny used to say, sitel slhi:m. (2000c)  Although Elizabeth and Rosaleen did not stress size and function as being important when naming objects during this interview, existing Halkomelem terminology does make such distinctions. For example, in previous interview sessions conducted by staff at St6:lo Shxweli they have recalled the terms: si'rstel - little basket; selistel - little baskets; kw'alhem - little berry baskets; shxwq"6:m - water basket; and si:tel - basket. When looking at these isolated terms it appears that functions related to subsistence activities may be important to indigenous classification. However, interviews also suggest that specific construction techniques are required to produce baskets for these specialised functions. For example, St6:lo berry baskets are typically trapezoid shaped with narrow bottoms and wide tops. The following excerpt from an interview with St6:lo weaver Wendy Ritchie at the Museum of Anthropology explains how the shape o f a basket determines its function. So they're tiered out like that, so that the ones on the bottom don't have all the pressure of the top berries squishing them... So when they pick berries, the layers of berries, and they put in a layer and they put in some leaves, and they put in a layer and they put in some leaves, so the juice doesn't drain down... So the weight is alleviated by the angle of the basket. So your bottom berries don't get mushed. (2000b)  It is "the angle o f the basket" which identifies the function o f the basket, since subsequent discussion revealed that not all trapezoid-shaped baskets are berry baskets. This shape o f basket may also be used for storage, work, or transporting food and medicines. I gained insights into this relationship during the same visit when I showed Wendy a photograph o f her great aunt, M r s . August Jim, carrying what appeared to me to 17  be a berry basket in the book The Chilliwack  and Their Neighbours (see Wells 1987:101).  After looking at the photograph Wendy corrected my identification stating: "I wouldn't think that this was a berry basket... because it isn't angled like that, how a berry basket is angled (2000b)." This statement suggests that Sto:lo basket makers have a mental template o f the appropriate form a basket should take for specific functions. While the differences are subtle and may not be immediately apparent, to basket makers like Wendy they are obvious and natural. I gained further insights into emic classifications during an interview with St6:lo Elders Elizabeth Herrling and Rosaleen George when I asked i f there was an all encompassing term used for containers. In a very detailed response Elizabeth explained to me how each type o f container has its own name, and that a basket with a specific name is made in a specific way. For example, a shxwq'oim or water basket is made with the cedar roots - it is a ts'o'qw. Secondly it is treated with a caulking agent to further improve its water retention as the following excerpt demonstrates:  Sharon:  Is there a word for containers, that encompasses everything like wooden bowls and baskets, or do they go by their own names?  Elizabeth:  W e have different names for them, all o f them, but I don't know I've never heard it anyway. [Laughs].  Sharon:  Y e a h . [Pause] So there wasn't a generalized word?  Elizabeth:  Because my grandmother used to make that fine work, fine cedar root basket?  Sharon:  Yeah.  Elizabeth:  A n d she used to use uh...uh...honey. Collect the combs, the wax, and she used to dip her roots in it.  Sharon:  Really? W o w .  Elizabeth:  A n d then when it... when it gets wet after you put water in it, i t ' l l hold water...  18  ... There used to be lots o f that a long time ago. They used to go out, go out and rob the poor bees in the wintertime. G o out and look for an old tree or something, and then they'd fall it, and then they get the...get the honey out o f it. (2000c)  Once again the name o f the basket, shxwq"6:m, suggests a distinctive function, and interviews suggest that special treatment is employed in construction. Yet interestingly, while a distinction is made between the different construction methods used for coiled cedar root baskets, decorative methods do not seem to be distinguished. The decorative method o f imbrication was the only one with a Salish language equivalent. However, it was suggested that the term for imbrication, banneq', was not Halkomelem but rather a S t l ' a t r i m x one and that it had been borrowed from the Douglas people who "use that design lots (2000c)." Elizabeth and Rosaleen were also unable to report any Halkomelem equivalents for other decorative techniques, such as beading or the finishing touches like braiding and loopwork. Since coiled basketry may have been learned by the St6:lo from their neighbours, the S t l ' a t r i m x and Nlaka'pamux, this might explain the absence o f such terms. The following excerpt supports this possibility.  banneq'?  Sharon:  So does the design have any other name besides it also used to refer to the design?  Was that the technique or was  Rosaleen:  The ordinary way to say designs is sxeles, isn't it ?  Elizabeth:  Yeah.  Rosaleen:  That other thing that I said it must come from Mount Currie, because that's where my grandmother come from. (2000c)  The reported absence of terminology to describe decorative elements suggests that they are less important to St6:lo emic classifications, perhaps because they do not affect overall construction or function in any way. Even when decorative elements are  19  modified, for example when the bitter cherry bark used in imbrication is dyed from red to black, it is still referred to by the same name stelem. However, each o f the materials used in the construction o f a basket and its designs is differentiated by name. For example, cedar roots are known by a specific term,  kwemlexw, which refers only to them and is not used generically for any type of roots. Similarly this term is quite distinct from the one used to refer to cedar wood - xepay. Likewise, canary grass - the variety o f grass that is most often used for its white colour when decorating baskets in the St6:lo area is identified by a specific term: ts'axi. Further support for my suggestion that the method of construction is key to emic classification can be found in the variation of names for basket components which can be manufactured separately from the body of the basket. Basket bottoms, for example, are often made by beginners, or by older basket makers who have lost their sight or agility, and may employ a different technique from the body. In the St6:lo area it is not uncommon to see baskets with slat constructed bottoms and walls made with bundles o f roots. I have seen several baskets made by renowned St6:lo basket maker Rena Point Bolton that have bottoms which were made for her by her late Aunt - Elsie Charlie o f Yale; while St6:lo Elder Rosaleen George recalls that she and her sister began learning by making the bottoms for their grandmother's baskets. In addition, the Halkomelem language makes a distinction between weaving a basket - tlTeqwowelh, and making its bottom skwelech. Basket lids and handles also have various names, yet the body o f the basket is not differentiated or named beyond being of the cedar slat or root type, as the following excerpt demonstrates.  20  Sharon:  Is there like words for the base versus the body?  Elizabeth:  M a k i n g the... making the bottom is called skwelech. The bottom part o f the basket. [Laughs]. I don't know. I never learned the name for after you build it up. [Laughs].  Sharon:  Then it's just a basket?  Elizabeth:  Yeah.  Sharon:  D o the lids have a name?  Rosaleen:  Yeah.  Elizabeth:  L o t ' s o f them, have all different kind o f names. [Pause].  Sharon:  What about handles?  Elizabeth:  1  The handles are the... What is it? [Laughs]. [Conversation become inaudible, some laughing].  Elizabeth:  They called them... [Pause]. I can't think o f it. [Pause].  Sharon:  Want to try that one again later?  Elizabeth:  Yeah. (2000c)  The types of names that Elizabeth and Rosaleen later remembered for lids included p'aqetel, for a flat lid and meaning "on top" according to Verley N e d , and skwowepelh for a l i d that has a domed appearance. While handles are called sokwechel, buckskin straps are yem qetel, and woollen tumplines are ke silstel. The common theme that reoccurred during my interview with Rosaleen and Elizabeth was that different construction methods are required to achieve these different end products. What I believe this discussion o f the Halkomelem terminology used by the St6:lo to describe coiled baskets has suggested is that the methods o f construction determine the ways in which a basket w i l l be named or classified. While my research demonstrated that some names reflect function, this was not consistently the case. However, specialised terminology was repeatedly used to describe components which can be manufactured  21  using different methods, with different materials, or in separate stages, supporting my previous assertion that these construction methods are the key to understanding how the St6:lo classify their baskets. The apparent absence o f Halkomelem terminology to describe decorative elements, such as imbrication or beading - done in conjunction with the coiling and without affecting the types o f materials employed, supports this assumption. While, my previous discussion has focused on a narrow area o f classification, and therefore cannot reflect all o f the complexities of the Halkomelem language, it does suggest that naming a basket type is the same as naming its construction methods. It could be argued that what I am describing here is in fact the technical terminology of weaving "specialists" rather than the commonplace terminology that would be found in the vocabulary o f every Halkomelem speaking person. While this may conceivably be true today, it should be remembered that these Elders with whom I spoke situate their experiences in a time when basket making and the Halkomelem language were much more a part o f everyday life than they are today. A s I mentioned previously, during the early portion o f the twentieth century basket makers were numerous and baskets were significant components in economic exchanges o f the St6:lo and other Northwest Coast peoples (Laforet and Y o r k 1998; Knight 1978). It was commonplace for St6:lo women to trade baskets for clothing, groceries and other household goods with European settlers and at trading posts. While today fewer woman are engaged in basket making as a subsistence activity, or even as a pastime, there are also fewer people who are fluent in their native languages due to the past assimilation efforts o f our colonial government. While my investigation into this  22  topic is only cursory, I think that it has produced several insights worth further consideration. However, taking this investigation further would require the attention o f someone with a linguistics background. I would like to take my own investigation further by turning to explore another way the St6:lo know coiled basketry by situating it within a broader complex o f Coast Salish weaving.  23  TECHNICAL KNOWLEDGE: PRINCIPLES OF DESIGN AND THE AESTHETICS OF STO:LO COILED BASKETRY Because coiled baskets are sewn together rather than woven, many scholars (see Schlick 1994:101; Bernick 2000:5) would not consider coiled basketry to be a form o f weaving. Despite this technical distinction, it is my belief that coiled basketry should not be isolated from the other textile production methods used by the St6:lo and other neighbouring Salish peoples. It has been my experience that some of the baskets made by St6:lo basket makers incorporate design elements and concepts which are used in other favourite textile arts such as weaving and knitting. I situate the recently introduced method o f knitting (and also crocheting) as part of this larger Coast Salish weaving complex because I view culture as a dynamic entity, and as such, subject to change and outside influences. I am influenced in my thinking by the writings o f anthropologist Homer Barnett. In his book, Innovation: The Basis of Culture Change, Barnett proposes an explanatory model which treats the phenomenon o f culture change as a psychological process. He suggests that innovation does not occur by spontaneous invention, but in fact centres upon reorganisation - the substitution o f perceived equivalents. This model also explains why some technologies and concepts are quickly transmitted between cultures while others are not. Barnett notes that: If no meaning o f any kind can be assigned to [an innovation], it has no chance o f surviving in and o f itself. This explains [for example] why many Christian concepts fail to pass over ethnic boundaries. Even [why] an allegedly Christian cult like Shakerism lacks prominent elements o f Christian creed and practice (1953:336).  Furthermore, he suggests that the process o f innovation cannot occur in a vacuum. It must instead rely upon the cultural inventory of the inventor, or instigator, and that person's experience with the natural components of his or her environment. Reorganisation fuels  24  innovation, yet group acceptance via transmission is necessary. When a cultural group adopts an outside technology, it is because that technology has meaning for them as a group and thus is complementary to their view o f the world. Thus I am suggesting here that the St6:lo adopted new textile forms such as knitting and crocheting in the late nineteenth century because they viewed them as being related to traditional weaving forms. Prior to contact the Salish practised several textile arts. In recent years one form has received much attention - Salish loom weaving. In the past Salish loom weavings were done with mountain goat wool and an assortment o f natural fibres including stinging nettle and Indian hemp; today sheep's wool and other commercially available products are most commonly used (Gustafson 1980). Three weaving methods are used in conjunction with the Salish loom - plain weave, twining and twill weave - all done with the fingers on a two bar loom (see Johnson and Bernick 1986). In the past weavers made blankets and other garments for ceremonial use, and clothing and tumplines for daily use. Today all o f these items continue to be made, but some weavers also make wall hangings for commercial sales as well. In the past, Salish weavers also constructed mats of cat-tail rushes for furnishing their homes (Barnett 1955;Gustafson 1980). Like the coiled baskets these mats are also sewn together. Although cat-tail mats are rarely made today, a variety o f basket making methods continue to flourish. Cedar bark twining is especially popular, and this method is often taught to young children using construction paper - a material that is more forgiving i f a mistake is made. Knitting and crocheting, which were first introduced by  25  missionaries through residential schools in the late nineteenth century (Meikle 1987), also continue to be popular among the St6:lo. L o o m weaving is often set apart from the other fibre arts, such as basketry, because o f its association with ceremonial contexts and the symbolic value placed upon mountain goat wool. Yet it should be remembered that the cedar tree and its products are also associated with ceremonial and ritual use. Cedar is an agent of purification, and although it is not discussed in much detail in the ethnographic literature, baskets are also sometimes used within ceremonial contexts (Barnett 1955; Suttles 1987; Peters 2000a). Furthermore, cedar bark is woven into blankets, clothing and tumplines as well as baskets. I suggest that it is worth considering that the division between Salish loom weaving and other Salish textile arts is one which is guided by western classification systems which separate religious from secular activities. I suggest to the reader that such a distinction is not a naturally occurring one and may not be an appropriate one for discussions o f Salish weaving. Typically, western scholars discuss the many textile arts of the St6:lo and their Salish neighbours as separate entities. However, conversations with St6:lo basket makers, and other indigenous weavers, suggests that such divisions are not applicable within their knowledge frameworks. Basket making is often one skill in a repertoire o f many for the St6:lo women I met and interviewed (see Table 1). In fact, several o f these basket makers participated in the "revival" o f Salish loom weaving documented by Oliver Wells in Sardis during the 1960s. While it remains unclear as to whether the St6:lo and other Salish weavers actually ceased weaving wool blankets within ceremonial contexts prior to this "revival", it is clear that Oliver Wells  26  facilitated the formation o f the Salish Weavers Guild and brought widespread recognition to their commercial weaving industry (Johnson 2001). Wells, himself, was well known to these women. He habitually brought old baskets to Elizabeth Herrling o f Seabird Island for repair, calling her home "the basket hospital."  T A B L E 1: A D D I T I O N A L S K I L L S P R A C T I S E D B Y T H E S T O : L O W O M E N NAME OF BASKET MAKER Joan Chapman M i n n i e Peters  COMMUNITY OF RESIDENCE Chehalis / Harrison Lake Peters Reserve / Hope  Elizabeth Herrling Frieda George Rosaleen George Rena Point Bolton  Seabird Island / Agassiz Squiala/ Chilliwack Skwah / C h i l l i w a c k Skowkale / Sardis  Wendy Ritchie  Skowkale / Sardis  INTERVIEWED  ADDITIONAL WEAVING  SKILLS  None Weaving (wool), knitting, several other styles o f basket making, Weaving (wool), crocheting Weaving (wool), beading Knitting, crocheting Weaving (wool and cedar bark), knitting Weaving (wool and cedar bark)  Table 1 shows that five of the basket makers I spoke with also weave with wool on a Salish loom. Three of these five women suggested that basket designs could also be used on other types of textiles. St6:lo weaver, Rena Point Bolton, reported using the same designs on her weavings as she does on her baskets and in her knitting. She notes that: I use the arrowhead a lot. I used to use it on m y Indian Sweaters. It was sort o f m y signature... I'd start at the bottom o f the sweater with the arrowhead, then I'd finish up here [at the collar] with them and on the cuffs. So everybody knew then that they had been mine, but I did it in such a way that it was different from the others. So every weaver like has their own insignia like, even on the Chilkat blankets they finish them so that people know who made them. They do a little bunch o f ties on one corner - like on the bottom somewhere. Then you know who did them. It's like a signature. So I used to do that with my sweaters. I used the arrowhead. (2000)  Rena, who is married to a Tsimshian man - Clifford Bolton, likewise places Salish sweater designs on her Tsimshian style basketry to pay homage to her Coast Salish roots, as well as another Salish design that she calls "bird tracks" (See Figure 3). Rena's daughter, Wendy Ritchie, also notes that the designs used on both wool weavings and  27  coiled baskets are "pretty much the same." Similarly Minnie Peters, an Elder from the Peters Reserve near Hope, identifies the flying goose design as another one which is extremely popular amongst the St6:lo and commonly found on a variety o f objects. The flying goose design, which is composed of chevron shaped elements resembling birds in flight, appears frequently on baskets and woven objects such tumplines in the collections of the Museum o f Anthropology.  Figure 3: Tsimshian Style Baskets with Salish Design Elements. Made by Rena Point Bolton  The design featured on the top portion of the larger basket is one used by Rena Point Bolton on Indian Sweaters. The small parallel rows of white designs in the center of the smaller basket are known as bird tracks. (Collection of Rena Point Bolton)  The other two loom weavers, Elizabeth Herrling and her granddaughter Frieda George, reported that they do not use the same designs for their baskets and weavings. In the instance o f those that do use designs on several types o f textiles, the women had strong family connections to the Nlaka'pamux. However, since marriage between neighboring  28  groups is not uncommon amongst the St6:lo, the preference may be a personal or family one. Certainly, m y research indicates that each family follows its own set o f protocols for preparing materials and constructing baskets.  F i g u r e 4: S t 6 : l o C o i l e d C e d a r R o o t Basket from B u r n a b y L a k e area.  Basket L i d i n c o r p o r a t i n g a w e a v i n g technique designed to change the pattern i n S w o q w ' e l h blankets. M u s e u m o f A n t h r o p o l o g y catalogue n u m b e r : A 4 3 0 8 .  Further evidence to suggest that coiled basketry should be included within a broader Coast Salish weaving complex came during a visit o f St6:lo weaver Wendy Ritchie to the Museum o f Anthropology. Wendy identified two baskets which exhibited a technique employed by St6:lo weavers when making swoqw'elh blankets during the visit. Swoqw'elh blankets are mountain goat wool blankets, which are worn by high ranking individuals, and distinguished by the fringes that decorate their edges. Wendy suggested that when weavers wish to create a change in the pattern i n one o f these blankets they may pass over two (or more) warp threads instead of one to signify the change, as well as to create a physical separation in the design field. This technique was  29  also employed by the St6:lo basket makers who made the two baskets depicted in Figures 4  and 5. In the case o f one o f these baskets, a change is demonstrated as the cherry bark  elements decorating the surface o f the l i d shift from the black dyed bark to the natural red colored bark as Wendy notes in the following excerpt: Wendy:  It's called changing the pattern.  Sharon:  Is it?  Wendy:  Yeah that's what we use as dividers. So the pattern is going to change, because they're going to change from black bark to red bark. B l a c k bark to red bark. W e do the same thing on...the s w o q w ' e l h blankets when we're going to change the pattern we do two.  On the l i d o f the second basket, rather than signifying a change in the pattern this technique forms the pattern. Wendy comments: "See that's what I mean, you can either put a pattern in the weaving itself or with the colours. A n d they do that with the swoqw'elh blankets too."  F i g u r e 5: S t 6 : l o C o i l e d C e d a r Root Basket from T z e a c h t o n .  *\ • ,i  j V  *.! U  I • iMiff• 11  • H  T h e basket m a k e r w h o made this basket l i d e m p l o y e d a w e a v i n g t e c h n i q u e for c h a n g i n g the pattern in S w o q w ' e l h blankets to form a pattern. M u s e u m o f A n t h r o p o l o g y catalogue n u m b e r : A 1 8 3 9 .  30  Coiled baskets and twined weavings are technically dissimilar - in twining the weaver twists the fibres by hand whereas the coiled basket maker sews the coils using an awl - but the end result is visually similar. I suggest that St6:lo weavers form a mental template which draws upon their expertise, and aesthetic preferences with other forms o f Salish weaving, and that this influences the final product. Another characteristic that coiled baskets share with other forms o f Salish weaving, including the knitted Indian sweaters, is a sense of balance and symmetry. While basket making can be a spontaneous and fluid event, it also one in which the basket maker usually knows what the end product w i l l be before she (or he) has even begun. M y work suggests that St6:lo basket makers work from a mental template which is regulated by a cultural sense o f aesthetics, further defined by family traditions, and then influenced by personal preference. Similar reports have been made about Porno basket makers from California and other "Indian" artists (Sards 1993; Boas 1955). Although the final form of a basket is to some degree controlled by the materials used, and the aforementioned cultural values pertaining to aesthetics, the basket maker must also be able to improvise to achieve the desired effect. St6:lo weaver Rena Point Bolton notes: I just go by how I feel. I imagine the basket that I'm going to make and I make the bottom and then from there I decide what is it... I f it's a round basket it's a little easier, but i f it's a square basket or an oval basket then you have to figure out. I have to put two designs on the sides, one on each end, so you're always mentally conjuring up what its going to look like and then i f the design that y o u started out with doesn't quite fit then you have to fill in with something else. I f there's too much o f a gap there, i f it doesn't balance or something, then you have to... There's a w o r d I can't think o f it. Y o u have to fill in anyway so that the basket looks balanced. Y o u don't want to clutter it up much, but you don't want it to be too empty either. Everything must balance. This is the nature o f Salish weaving, everything has to balance even the rugs, the sweaters, everything. If you were taught properly designs must always balance, and they must mirror each other no matter which way. So you have to be creative. Y o u have to be able to improvise. (2000)  31  Rena further suggests that this ability to "improvise" is especially important when working with the wider slat baskets since the basket maker is required to build up the design using fewer rows of coils. She notes that St6:lo basket makers often compensate by using several strips o f bark or grass within one row to achieve the same complexity o f design when decorating their cedar slat baskets. Thus the basket maker must know ahead of time what the final product will be, and what type o f space requirements are demanded to achieve it, but must be able to compensate i f they have judged incorrectly. For example, an empty space w i l l be corrected by the addition o f balanced sets of smaller design elements or fillers. Similarly, a design that is too large or too small for a basket w i l l be modified to fit the available space. Balance and symmetry o f designs are important attributes, but St6:lo basket makers also judge the skill o f a basket maker by the regularity o f the coils and the appearance o f the roots and decorative elements used in construction. Franz Boas discusses the former o f these attributes in the opening pages of "Primitive Art (1955)." He states that: In the household o f the natives we do not find slovenly work, except when a rapid makeshift has to be made. Patience and careful execution characterise most o f their products. Direct questioning of natives and their own criticism o f their o w n work shows also their appreciation o f technical perfection. Virtuosity, complete control o f technical processes, however, means an automatic regularity o f movement. The basketmaker who manufactures a coiled basket, handles the fibers composing the coil in such a way that the greatest evenness o f coil diameter results. (1955:19-20)  Boas further suggests that this practised skill produces aesthetic pleasure in the basket maker, and viewer, and thus becomes the foundation o f "art". His observations on the attributes o f native basketry remain valid for contemporary discussions on this topic. During visits to the Museum o f Anthropology in July 2000 St6:lo basket makers  32  repeatedly identified baskets with uneven and irregular shaped coils as being typical of the work o f beginners. A second attribute that determined the quality o f the work was the roots that went into construction. A n experienced basket maker knows that wood shrinks and so she dries her roots for six months, or even a year, to allow for maximum shrinkage before making a basket. The amount o f time that roots are set aside to dry varies depending on the basket maker, since each family has its own ways o f doing things and some individuals exercise personal preference as they become more experienced. However, i f the roots used for constructing a basket have not dried for a sufficient length o f time, gaps w i l l appear in the basket as it ages and the materials within the coils w i l l become visible. Similarly, i f a basket maker has not taken care in preparing the materials used for imbricating the surface, and they are uneven i n thickness, they w i l l split and break. This is often seen when looking at baskets with improperly prepared  ts'axi or canary grass - the material that is most commonly used for white design elements in the St6:lo area. Similarly, i f the  stelem or bitter cherry bark that is used for  the red and black design elements is not scraped properly the bark w i l l be uneven in colour and a grayish sheen w i l l mar its surface. The surface w i l l remain mottled with darker and lighter areas even i f the bark has been dyed black. Although what I am describing sounds very obvious, it takes an experienced basket maker to notice all of these fine details and attributes (or as Wendy Ritchie says " basket making eyes"). To the inexperienced eye such things might be attributed to age or damage incurred during the life of the object. This attention to detail, which is characteristic o f the work of Salish basket makers in general, has long been a source o f  33  wonder to researchers. For example, in Coiled Basketry in British Columbia and Surrounding Region, ethnographers Haeberlin and Teit suggest that: It would not be surprising i f something were temporarily overlooked and mistakes occurred which were observed only when it was to late to remedy them. In fact, it is amazing that the general character o f the whole product is so perfect, the stitches so even, the coils so uniform, the colors so well blended, and the designs so well adapted and spaced (1928:258).  Thus Salish coiled baskets are distinctive not only for the care that is taken in executing the designs, but also for preparation of materials. Experienced basket makers can also identify the materials used for the decorative elements on the baskets of others. For example, St6:lo weaver Wendy Ritchie reported that red cherry bark is differentiated from red cedar by the niches that mar the surface of the cherry bark. A n n a B i l l y , a Mount Currie basket maker with family connections to the St6:lo community of Cheam, noted that canary grass can be differentiated from cat-tail grass since canary grass is shiny and cat-tail isn't; and St6:lo Elder Rosaleen George differentiated between yellow and white canary grass stating that "to keep it white it has to be dried in the shade, and [that] keeps it white and shiny (2000b)." Previously I suggested that coiled basketry forms part o f a larger Coast Salish weaving complex. In my discussion on this topic I have drawn examples from the testimony o f St6:lo Elders and other basket makers to help support this claim. The use o f designs on different types o f woven objects and the transfer of weaving concepts from the loom to the realm o f basketry, or possibly vice versa, are tangible representations which support the existence o f this broader weaving complex. During my previous discussion o f Halkomelem terminology I demonstrated that how an object is made determines how it w i l l be named, i n this section I attempted to demonstrate that these diverse methods each contribute to how the weaver defines and realises her textile work as a whole. In a  34  previous quote about basket making, Rena Point Bolton stated that: "This is the nature o f Salish weaving, everything has to balance even the rugs, the sweaters, everything." Indicating that basketry, loom weaving and knitting are all related textile forms in her mind. Drawing upon the previously cited work o f Homer Barnett I suggest that to the St6:lo these diverse textile forms are perceived as equivalents. Clearly it would be artificial to consider the many forms of basketry and textile production employed by the St6:lo as completely separate entities, since conceivably the knowledge o f both influence the basket maker or weaver and contribute to the formation of a mental template which regulates form. Personal choice plays a large role in determining how an object w i l l be made and what materials w i l l be incorporated, but the basket maker situates this knowledge within a broader cultural tradition and for the St6:lo this tradition esteems balance and symmetry. There is, however, another framework embedded within this broader weaving complex and it is based upon kinship. Basket makers and weavers share a culturally defined aesthetic that regulates form, and they are further guided by the expertise of older family members from whom they learned their skills. Just as each family has its own history, each family has its own ways o f doing things and all o f these ways are correct; none can be said to take precedence over another. It must be remembered when talking with basket makers, and while looking at their work, that there is no absolute or right method for doing things, but many ways that are each equally right for the people concerned. Thus St6:lo basket makers situate their work within the aesthetic o f a broader cultural community, and follow the traditions conveyed to them by family Elders, yet still manage to improvise and explore their individual innovations. Experienced weavers, such  35  as Rena Point Bolton, create and share new designs. Museum collections demonstrate how earlier basket makers have experimented with new dyeing methods (since the 1950s), and adopted new shapes since the beginning o f the twentieth century - shopping baskets, teacups, tables, and cake stands, just to name a few. St6:lo basketry is dynamic and contemporary - reflecting the changing experiences o f basket makers and their families in the twentieth century, yet it also remains a means o f connecting the past with the present. Scholars such as Elizabeth Johnson and Kathryn Bernick (1986), Paula Gustafson (1980), and Oliver Wells (1969) have done much in recent years to document the contemporary development o f Salish weaving, yet in the literature coiled basketry has remained situated in the past. B y documenting contemporary basket makers and by situating St6:lo basketry, and other textile forms, within the broader tradition o f Coast Salish weaving we can better appreciate the dynamic cultural context of baskets as well.  36  FAMILY TRADITIONS: OWNERSHIP OF DESIGNS AND TECHNICAL KNOWLEDGE In this final portion of my paper I would like to discuss evidence that ownership of designs was recognized within St6:lo communities in the past and that the transmission of technical knowledge was, and continues to be, controlled. Ownership o f designs within St6:lo communities has been discussed previously by H . K . Haeberlin, James A . Teit and Helen H . Roberts in the monumental work "Coiled Basketry in British Columbia and Surrounding Region''' (1928). Unlike the majority o f this work, which focuses on the technical rather than cultural aspects o f basket making, the discussion concerning how a basket maker selects a design raises more questions than it answers. Haeberlin and Teit do not discuss St6:lo basketry in great detail, although references are made to the St6:lo and their work throughout the text. For example, in the introduction a recent origin for coiled basketry in St6:lo territory is suggested. It is noted that: The theory that the Stalo acquired their knowledge from the L o w e r Thompson seems to be confirmed by a study o f their designs, which are not only the same but are arranged in a similar manner. Where interpretations o f designs are available, they prove to be practically identical with those o f the Uta'mqt (Lower Thompson)...Thompson influence in basketry prevails as far down the Fraser River as Agassiz and C h i l l i w a c k . A t Harrison [Hot Springs] and below, Lillooet influence predominates. Formerly little basket work was attempted near C h i l l i w a c k , but intermarriage and increased acquaintance with the Lower Thompson tribes have given impetus to the art (1928:133-134).  Sadly Haeberlin and Teit fail to explore the most obvious reason for the similarity in execution and interpretation o f designs - ownership o f designs based on kinship. They mention intermarriage between these neighboring peoples almost as a footnote and do not give it the consideration it deserves.  37  Elaborating on the information amassed by Haeberlin and Teit I suggest that the transmission o f knowledge was, and continues to be, regulated by kinship, and that this explains why Haeberlin and Teit encountered the same designs amongst the St6:lo and their Nlaka'pamux neighbors. In contemporary contexts, coiled basketry remains a form of knowledge that is contained within families. Despite the fact that some o f the basket makers I spoke with said that they would teach this skill to other community members who expressed an interest, in reality none of them had taught anyone who was not related to them through blood or marriage. Former students were always identified as daughters, sons, granddaughters or daughters-in law (See Table 2 below).  T A B L E 2: R E L A T I O N S H I P S O F C O N T E M P O R A R Y S T O : L O B A S K E T M A K E R S T O THEIR STUDENTS.  Rena Point B o l t o n Wendy Ritchie Elizabeth Herrling  COMMUNITY OF AFFILIATION Chehalis Chehalis (Nlaka'pamux) Chehalis Peters Reserve (Nlaka'pamux) Skowkale Skowkale Seabird Island  Frieda George Rosaleen George  Squiala Skwah  N A M E OF BASKET MAKER Joan Chapman Francis Chapman Bruce Chapman M i n n i e Peters  RELATIONSHIP TO TEACHER Daughter Son Son Daughter; Niece; Granddaughter; Granddaughter; N i e c e Daughter Daughter; Granddaughter Granddaughter Granddaughter; N i e c e  RELATIONSHIP TO STUDENT(S) Mother; Mother-in-law Father N/A Grandmother Mother N/A Grandmother Aunt; Sister Mother  N O T E : A l l o f these basket makers continue to live in their communities o f birth except N l a k a ' p a m u x basket maker M i n n i e Peters and her deceased brother Francis Chapman, Rena Point Bolton and Rosaleen George. Rosaleen was originally from Chehalis, while Rena Point Bolton now lives in Terrace, B C .  Students were both male and female, although basket makers generally tend to be women. However, Rena Point Bolton notes that this style o f basket making is physically demanding and well suited to men. She states that: Y o u have to have a certain pull and that pulls up here [in the upper arm-shoulder region] and a lot o f women don't like that because then they're aching all the time. But men... I remember one o f  38  my uncles - his name was George J i m , he not only made baskets but he used to knit. He knitted socks, because he couldn't get around too well so rather than just sit around and do nothing - they didn't have television in those days, he'd be making baskets and he'd knit socks. A n d my brother, who also had an accident when he was young, he had a lot o f problems with his legs. He got into basket weaving and he liked it, yeah. So there were many men who did weaving, but most o f the men wove fish traps and things o f that nature, you know. Outdoor things, while the women wove the little baskets (2000).  Several o f Rena's sons have also been introduced to the skill o f basket making through a brief course she ran at Skowkale for her children. A t Chehalis, Bruce Chapman the son o f Joan Chapman, and nephew o f Minnie Peters, is learning the skill. Bruce's deceased father, Francis Chapman, was also an active basket maker throughout his retirement years. Francis is reported to have learned without formal instruction, in the old way, by observing his mother Mathilda Chapman as a child. Thus basket makers may be o f either gender, but the tradition is transmitted along family lines. A second point o f contention arises from the fact that contemporary basket makers do in fact recognise regional differences in designs. The following excerpt from an interview with Nlaka'pamux Elder Minnie Peters, a basket maker who married into a St6:lo community near Hope, demonstrates that the St6:lo and the Nlaka'pamux favor different design elements. The designs down here [in the St6:lo area] are the animal patterns. M o r e like the ravens or the eagle, they put them on. A n d up in the Thompson area we use the diamonds and the Indian trails and all different... for good luck and everything like that. (2000a)  While these differences may be explained in terms of Nlaka'pamux versus Stl'atrimx influences, proper emphasis should be given to recognising the mechanism that enables the transfer o f such knowledge - kinship. These neighboring Interior Salish peoples are a common source o f marriage partners for the St6:lo. Since Salish kinship systems are bilateral, children o f both sexes may receive instruction from family members on both the maternal and paternal sides o f the family. (See Barnett 1955; Suttles 1987) 39  Other arguments that can be made regarding ownership of designs stem from a topic discussed earlier in this paper - the esteem placed upon the basket maker's ability to improvise. Haeberlin and Teit readily accept the basket maker's ability to create new design elements, yet they suggest that: During a woman's lifetime certain designs and variations may perhaps be considered to belong to her in a sense that they are her particular inventions, but knowledge concerning origins is soon lost by the majority, especially after the designs have been copied or changed by others. O n l y in the minds o f a few people like old K a l i a , who once lived at Spuzzum, but has been dead for many years, are such historical details cherished and remembered (1928:300-301).  Yet my research, conducted more than 70 years later, indicates that details and protocols concerning ownership are still recognised and although some women may want to use a design that belongs to another woman, they do not do so without receiving her permission first. Despite the fact that all o f the St6:lo basket makers reported that "everyone just uses the same designs," such statements were often followed with specific examples o f how people asked for the use of particular designs. The following excerpt from an interview with Rosaleen George of Skwah is a good example.  Sharon:  Were there any special designs that y o u liked to use or...?  Rosaleen:  N o she just put any design that came to her I guess. Yeah she w o u l d just... There was no such thing as patterns them days now, no...[Laughing].  Elizabeth:  Whatever came into your head.  Rosaleen:  Yeah.  Sharon:  So people didn't... D i d people own designs? C o u l d you borrow i f you saw something somebody else made and you liked it, could you use it? O r w o u l d you ask them first or...?  Rosaleen:  It seemed like they just... W e l l some they... I remember an o l d lady, this was telisa, she come and asked my grandmother [Saraphine Leon] i f she... That was, I don't know what kind o f design that was, but it seemed l i k e . . . gee I couldn't even describe that design. But telisa made that too with granny. Because granny did everything - crocheting, knitting, basket making and she had a lot o t h e r own designs yeah. (2000c)  40  Clearly the issue of ownership is a complex one. Joan Chapman, a basket maker from Chehalis, reports that everyone in her community uses the same designs. Her mother, Adele Peters, used butterflies and a design called waves on her work. Joan, herself, uses the wave design frequently on her work because it is one that she received from her mother. However, Joan also has one design which appears to be unique to her (see Figure 6) which is reported to have belonged to Joan's mother originally.  Figure 6: Basket Made by Joan Chapman.  i '1  at  ««»•».  •«  * VXV * * >l BI  IE  >  •Wit  i  Collection of St6:lo Nation, Sardis B C .  Rena Point Bolton o f Skowkale also acknowledges family ownership o f designs, but likewise indicates the willingness to share with others. Rena notes that: 1 had my mother's design that was like the Star o f David. She used that a lot. I don't use that myself, but I've given the kids permission to use it, but my mother used that a lot - the Star o f David. A n d she used other little designs like the fly and the bee. Just like I use the pond skipper. I'll probably pass all the designs I've invented or were given to me. I ' l l give them to my daughters to use. O r whoever else wants to use them. [It] doesn't matter, there's not too many people out there that want to make baskets. I would just say to them go ahead and use whatever designs that appeals to them. I don't think there's any one person that can just say those are mine and I don't want anyone else to use them. I don't think its that important. (2000)  Rosaleen George also remembers being given a tree design for her baskets by an Aunt at Musqueam. Similarly Elizabeth Herrling recalls being quizzed by another woman when  41  she finished a basket for " O l d Lady Emory" of Yale because it had one o f the Emory designs on it.  F i g u r e 7: T r a y w i t h design owned by the E m o r y o f Y a l e .  M u s e u m of A n t h r o p o l o g y catalogue n u m b e r : A 8 5 1 3 .  Nlaka'pamux basket makers Minnie Peters and her brother, the late Francis Chapman o f Chehalis, inherited diamond shaped designs associated with good luck from their mother Matilda Chapman. St6:lo Elder Elizabeth Herrling of Seabird Island reports using the same designs as her mother Matilda Thomas - diamonds and stars. Elizabeth is also familiar with the work of several other basket makers and was able to identify several baskets with designs belonging to specific areas or people during a visit to the Museum of Anthropology. For example, Elizabeth identified the tray in Figure 7 as bearing a design only used by the Emory o f Yale. Designs such as the star, diamond and butterfly are common to many families in the Sto:lo area, but the manner in which each of these designs is executed often varies in colour and form. Although each of these Elders initially suggested that ownership is not  42  important, each o f them uses specific designs on their work, and they commonly reported that they acquired their designs through inheritance. Interestingly, all o f these basket makers are acquainted with one another and several are related through blood or marriage suggesting that basket making runs in specific families. In the following excerpt Frieda George, a basket maker and weaver from Squiala, gives insights into how knowledge is still owned and controlled by families. [It's] the way the Elders are. Y o u just don't teach other people but the family. Because When I wanted to learn how to do the ceremonial blanket and I asked this lady and she A n d I said, "Okay. I just want to learn about it. I don't want to upset y o u or anything." when I went to another lady and she's my husband's cousin. So she said, " O k a y sure", came over and she taught me, and it took me six hours to do that (2000a).  that's... refused. A n d that's and so she  Today some forms o f basket making and weaving are being taught in courses run through band offices, elementary schools, conferences, and interpretive centres such as Xa:ytem and Shxwt'a:selhawtxw, coiled basketry is not one o f them. The situation may eventually change, however, as fewer people demonstrate an interest in learning this labor intensive form of basketry. Basket making is widespread amongst the St6:lo, but coiled basketry is limited to a few individuals per reservation and in some cases only one. Frieda George, for example, is the only person at Squiala with the knowledge to make coiled basketry but she prefers to concentrate her efforts on Salish loom weaving. However, Frieda has recently been hired as a cultural worker for the Seabird Island School and plans to teach coiled basketry to several of her co-workers in the near future (2001). Haeberlin and Teit also suggested that new designs quickly "become the common property o f everyone (301)," and that: There are a few designs which are inherited, but not as property or because they were invented by ancestors. They are taught to the daughters by the mother or grandmother and thus handed down. In some cases an old design may be retained in one family without really belonging there, having been forgotten by others who once employed it, or having been brought from a distance (1928:301).  43  Statements such as this one seem contradictory. What is inheritance i f it is not knowledge "taught to the daughters by the mothers or grandmothers (301)"? Yet i f we look to the responses o f contemporary basket makers we see similar discrepancies. What meaning can we infer from these seeming contradictions? I suggest that we begin by examining the historical context from which Haeberlin and Teit are writing. During the early portion of the twentieth century, when they were conducting their investigations, enormous numbers o f indigenous women were engaged in basket making as an economic activity, while previously basket making was not an activity that was practiced by all women (Haeberlin et al. 1928; Bolton 2000; Chapman 2000a; Peters 2000a). A t this time indigenous people were also employed as seasonal wage earners (Carlson 1997; Knight 1978). Picking hops was one such activity which brought people from diverse communities together, and undoubtedly exposed indigenous women to designs made by basket makers in distant communities. Sharing and gift giving is a culturally important attribute o f the St6:lo who deplore stinginess (Carlson 1997), and thus would also explain their willingness to share designs and the broad distribution o f those designs during the post contact era. Selection o f design elements during this period was most likely also driven by saleability since baskets were a means o f acquiring the necessities o f daily life such as food and clothing. A t the same time indigenous people were under tremendous pressure to conform to new value systems and ways o f doing things. It would not be surprising i f ownership protocols were relaxed during this period. Clearly knowledge o f ownership continues to persist, however, since contemporary basket makers still can discern ownership o f certain designs - yet the rules seem to have been greatly relaxed. Today this  44  might be seen as encouragement for younger community members to pursue and preserve cultural knowledge, but in the past perhaps it enabled women to provide food for their families. Basket making is entwined with individual family histories, and it is an artistic medium which reflects the changing history of the St6:lo people. For example, new coiled basketry forms, such as tables, fishing creels, and teacups, demonstrate the influence o f recently arrived Canadian settlers in the early twentieth century. Similarly, the widespread distribution of basketry designs seems to coincide with the subsequently more frequent contacts with neighboring Salish groups at hop yards and lumber camps. Thus my research has suggested that there are two categories o f designs: those that are commonly used by everyone and special designs which belong to specific individuals or families. Inheritance plays a role in what designs a basket maker w i l l use and many basket makers have designs from each category. Joan Chapman provides a good example o f this in that her repertoire includes designs popular in her community, such as waves, but also contains the unique design seen in Figure 6. In conclusion, it is apparent that designs can be a way o f identifying the work o f specific individuals and their families. While some designs are commonly used, and have widespread distributions, others share a more personal relationship with their makers. Designs with widespread distribution tell us about the extent o f past social networks, while unique designs tell us about contemporary ones.  45  CONCLUDING REMARKS  Basketry expert J. M . Adovasio suggests that "no single basketry attribute is restricted to a single human population, but the basketry of each population is characterised by a constellation o f construction and finishing techniques that itself is usually unique (1986:204)." Similarly the basketry of each population must be viewed as unique in terms o f the cultural values and norms which are embedded in its framework and construction. In this paper I have presented three distinctive ways o f knowing or understanding St6:lo coiled basketry - identification through language, technique and aesthetic, and the ownership of designs. M y objective was to demonstrate that an object can be shrouded in multiple layers of meaning which may not be readily apparent to the ethnographic other or anthropologist. Museums often store and display cultural objects in a lifeless manner which alienates them from their original meanings, and employ protocols that seem foreign to the people that they are purported to represent. Isolated in protective cases, protected from curious hands, they are elevated to the status of art. Yet for many they are highly personal - tangible links with grandmothers and other esteemed Elders that are tantalizingly close yet still out of reach. It is important to recognise different cultural values and beliefs by developing museum displays where the curator is not an authoritative voice, but it is perhaps more important to promote accessibility. It is time to stop viewing material culture simply as objects. They are alive and they have stories to tell. Museums must stop being a barrier that prevents this. One way to encourage accessibility is for museum staff to regularly visit local communities instead o f waiting for people to approach them. For example, ethnology 46  staff at the Glenbow Museum in Calgary is allowed to incorporate such visits into their annual work plans. Similarly, the presence o f First Nations staff, as well as spaces for prayer and cleansing, at Glenbow have contributed towards making the museum a more approachable and comfortable space. Enabling people to handle cultural objects without white gloves also makes the museum more welcoming. Preservation is important, but such measures can make First Nations visitors apprehensive and uncomfortable. Museums can also become less sterile and more vibrant by working in collaborative partnerships with the communities whose cultural property they house. For example, I have prepared a graduating exhibit at the Museum of Anthropology called  Satet te siwes or "Continuing Traditions" to accompany this thesis. The exhibit is a collaborative effort which features the thoughts of 7 St6:lo basket makers, 2 Squamish Nation basket makers, 2 Nlaka'pamux basket makers and one Stl'atl'imx basket maker. I am also represented in this exhibit through the inclusion o f a family basket made by my great grandmother Annie Chapman - a Klahoose basket maker from Squirrel Cove, Cortez Island. However, in the accompanying label I chose to reflect upon the words o f another basket maker - my grandmother, Maryanne Pollner. Rather than writing all of the labels myself I wrote a general introduction and used the words o f the basket makers themselves, in the form of quotes, to inform the visitor. To show respect to the people that I worked with I attempted to find translators that could put the labels into the appropriate indigenous languages. I became aware o f how endangered many o f British Columbia's native languages are through my efforts to find translators. It brought home to me the role that museums can also play in public awareness and promoting native languages through the use o f bilingual label text.  47  B y using the voices o f First peoples with their native languages in museum exhibits we are able to introduce indigenous perspectives and replace Euro-centric accounts. This also provides a forum for First peoples to talk about contemporary issues and concerns. Thus ethnographic exhibits should be about the contemporary and not the past; permanent galleries must be built to accommodate change. The Satet te siwes exhibit will be located within the Gathering Strength gallery at the Museum o f Anthropology. It w i l l be one module in this larger gallery dedicated to celebrating contemporary Northwest Coast artists and their cultures. The Gathering Strength Gallery, which has been open for one year, is comprised o f several modules which stand independent o f each other. Each o f the modules w i l l periodically change to ensure that the gallery continues to speak about contemporary First Nations people. Satet te siwes w i l l be the first replacement module in this gallery. With this thesis, and the accompanying exhibit, I hope to have demonstrated that baskets are more than utilitarian objects or pieces of art. Baskets have much to say about the people who make them. Their changing shapes tell us stories about their economic function and the people who were using them, while their designs tell us about their makers and their maker's families. The language used to describe them shows us how they are classified and made. While considering coiled baskets together with other Salish textile arts shows us what makes a good weaving, and how a basket maker draws upon her technical knowledge o f other weaving methods when creating a basket. Thus objects can tell us many things about the people who make and use them; we only have to listen.  48  REFERENCES Adovasid, J . M . 1977  Basketry Technology: A Guide to Identification and Analysis. Chicago: A l d i n e Publishing Company.  1986  Barnett, Homer 1953 1955  Prehistoric Basketry. In Warren L . D ' A z e v e d o , ed., Handbook of North American Indians, Volume 11: Great Basin. Washington: Smithsonian Institution.  Innovation: The Basis of Culture Change. N e w Y o r k : M c G r a w - H i l l B o o k Company. The Coast Salish of British Columbia. Eugene, Oregon: The University o f Oregon Press.  Baxandall, M i c h a e l 1991  Exhibiting Intention: Some Preconditions o f the V i s u a l Display o f Culturally Purposeful Objects. In Ivan Karp and Steven D . Lavine, ed., Exhibiting Cultures: The Poetics and  Politics of Museum Display. Washington and London: The Smithsonian Institution Press. B e m i c k , Kathryn 2000  A Stitch in Time: Recovering the Antiquity of a Coast Salish Basket Type. Unpublished manuscript. Vancouver, B C .  Bierwert, Crisca 1999  Brushed By Cedar, Living By the River. Tuscon: University o f A r i z o n a Press.  Billy, Anna 2000  Interview with the basket maker, August 30. Vancouver: M u s e u m o f Anthropology.  Boas, Franz 1955  Primitive Art. N e w Y o r k : Dover Publications.  Bolton, Rena Point 2000 Interview with the basket maker, June 22. Skowkale. Carlson, K e i t h 1997  You Are Asked To Witness: The St6:lo in Canada's Pacific Coast History. C h i l l i w a c k : St6:lo Heritage Trust.  Chapman, Joan 2000a 2000b 2000c  Interview with the Elder, M a y 18. Chehalis. Interview with the Elder, July 4. Vancouver: Museum o f Anthropology. Interview with the Elder, August 25. Vancouver: Museum o f Anthropology  Chapman, W i l l i a m Ryan 1985  Clifford, James 1991  Arranging Ethnology: A . H . L . F . Pitt Rivers and the Typological Tradition. In George W . Stocking Jr., ed., Objects and Others: Essays on Museums and Material Culture. History of Anthropology Series, V o l u m e 3. Madison, Wisconsin: The University o f Wisconsin Press.  Four Northwest Coast Museums: Travel Reflections. In Ivan Karp and Steven D . Lavine,  ed., Exhibiting Cultures: The Poetics and Politics of Museum Display. Washington and London: The Smithsonian Institution Press.  49  Cole, Douglas 1985  Captured Heritage: The Scramble for Northwest Coast Artifacts.  Conaty, Gerald and Robert R. Janes 1997 Repatriation: A Canadian V i e w . 37 Foucault, M i c h e l 1994  Vancouver: U B C Press.  European Review of Native American Studies  The Order of Things: An Archaeology of the Human Sciences.  11(2):31 -  N e w Y o r k : Vintage Books  Edition. George, Frieda 2000a 2000b 2000c 2001  Interview with the basket maker, M a y 25. Squiala. Interview with the basket maker, July 4. Vancouver: Museum o f Anthropology Interview with the basket maker, August 25. Vancouver: M u s e u m o f Anthropology Personal Communication, A p r i l 9. Vancouver: Museum o f Anthropology  George, Rosaleen, Elizabeth Herrling and Verley N e d 2000a Interview with the Elders, M a y 29. Sardis: St6:lo Shxweli. 2000b Interview with the Elders, July 4. Vancouver: M u s e u m o f Anthropology. 2000c Interview with the Elders, September 19. Sardis: St6:lo Shxweli. Gubrium, Jaber F. and James A . Holstein 1995 The N e w Language o f Qualitative Method. N e w Y o r k and Oxford: Oxford University Press. Gustafson, Paula 1980  Salish Weaving.  Vancouver: Douglas & Mclntrye.  Haeberlin, H . K . , James A . Teit and Helen H . Roberts 1928 C o i l e d Basketry in British C o l u m b i a and Surrounding Region. Forty-first Annual Report of the Bureau ofAmerican Ethnology, 1919-1924. Washington, D . C . : Government Printing Office. Harvey, V i r g i n i a 1986  The Techniques o f Basketry. Seattle: University o f Washington Press.  H e l w i g , Priya 1993  Resource Booklet: Contemporary Sto:lo Women Artists.  Unpublished Report prepared for  the St6:lo Tribal Council. Sardis, B C . Hinsley, Curtis  1981  The Smithsonian and the American Indian: Making a Moral Anthropology in Victorian America. Washington and London: Smithsonian Institute Press.  Hooper-Greenhill, Eilean 1992 Museums  and the Shaping of Knowledge.  London and N e w Y o r k : Routledge.  James, George Wharton  1972  Indian Basketry, Dover Edition. N e w York: Dover Publications Inc.  50  Jacknis, Ira 1985  Franz Boas and Exhibits: O n the Limitations o f the Museum Method o f Anthropology. In George W . Stocking Jr., ed., Objects and Others: Essays on Museums and Material Culture. History o f Anthropology Series, V o l u m e 3. Madison, Wisconsin: The University o f Wisconsin Press.  Johnson, Elizabeth 2001 Personal Communication. Vancouver: Museum o f Anthropology. Johnson, Elizabeth and Kathryn Bernick 1986 Hands of Our Ancestors: The Revival of Salish Weaving N o . 16. Vancouver: Museum o f Anthropology, U B C .  at Musqueam.  M u s e u m Note  Jonaitis, A l d o n a  1988  From the Land of the Totem Poles: The Northwest Coast Indian Art Collection at the Museum of Natural History. Seattle: University o f Washington Press.  Jones, Joan M e g a n 1982 The Art  and Style of Western Indian Basketry.  Surrey, B C : Hancock House Publishers.  K e w , J. E . M i c h a e l and Bruce G . M i l l e r 1999 Locating Aboriginal Governments in the Political Landscape. In Michael Healey, ed., Seeking Sustainability in the Lower Fraser Basin: Issues and Choices. Canada: Institute for Resources and the Environment, Westwater Research. Knight, R o l f  1978  Indians at Work: An Informal History of Native Labour in British Columbia 1858-1930. Vancouver: N e w Start Books.  Laforet, Andrea and Annie Y o r k 1998 Spuzzum: Fraser  Canyon Histories, 1808-1939.  Vancouver: U B C Press.  Mason, Otis Tufton  1904  American Indian Basketry. N e w Y o r k : Dover Publications Inc.  M e i k l e , Margaret 1987 Cowichan Indian Knitting. Museum Note N o . 21. Vancouver: Museum o f Anthropology, UBC. Pearce, Susan M . 1991  Museums, Objects and Collections: A Cultural Study.  Washignton, D . C . : Smithsonian  Institution Press. Peters, M i n n i e 2000a 2000b 2000c  Interview with the Elder, June 8. Peter's Reserve. Interview with the Elder, July 4. Vancouver: Museum o f Anthropology. Interview with the Elder, August 25. Vancouver: M u s e u m o f Anthropology  Ritchie, Wendy 2000a 2000b  Interview with the weaver, M a y 29. Sardis: St6:lo Nation. Interview with the weaver, July 6. Vancouver: Museum o f Anthropology.  Sarris, Greg 1993  Mabel McKay: Weaving the Dream.  51  Berkley: University o f California Press.  Schlick, M a r y Dodds 1994  Columbia River Basketry: Gift of the Ancestors, Gift of the Earth.  Seattle and London:  University o f Washington Press. Suttles, Wayne 1987  Coast Salish Essays.  Vancouver: Talon Books.  Turnbaugh, Sarah Peabody and W i l l i a m A . Turnbaugh 1986 Indian Baskets. West Chester, Pennsylvania. Watson, Graham 1995 "Listening to the Native: the Non-ironic alternative to " D i a l o g i c " Ethnography."  CRSA/RCSA 33.1: 73-88 Wells, O l i v e r N . 1969 1987  Salish Weaving: Primitive and Modern. Sardis, B . C . The Chilliwack and Their Neighbors. Vancouver: Talon  Books.  Wright, Robin K . 1996 "The Northwest Coast Collection." In Nelson H . H . Graburn, M o l l y Lee and Jean-Loup  Rousselot, ed., Catalogue Raisonne of the Alaska Commercial Company Collection. Berkley: University o f California Press.  52  APPENDIX 1: Satet te siwes / Continuing Traditions Exhibit Labels Qex te sqwelqwels ye sa:letel These Baskets Tell Many Stories: This exhibit is meant to convey to you, the visitor, the distinctiveness o f Salish coiled basketry. To do this I would like to tell you a story about these cedar root baskets, but to pick just one story is in itself a daunting task. I face a dilemma. W h i c h story should be told? H o w can I convey the many interesting stories that belong to these baskets and the basket makers who weave them? The best way to do this is to let the baskets, their families and the basket makers speak for themselves. It is up to you, the visitor, to perceive the rest. M y great grandmother, Annie Chapman o f Squirrel Cove, made this berry basket and several others for my grandmother's wedding in 1937. M y grandmother, Maryanne Pollner, once told me that baskets were often made as gifts for special occasions in the past. In fact, all o f the baskets that my grandmother made were given away as gifts to her friends. This basket made by my great grandmother is one o f my favorites. Whenever I look at it I think about my grandparents.  Sharon Fortney, Graduate Student, Curator, 2001 Berry Basket A n n i e Chapman, Klahoose 1937 Cedar root, cedar wood, cherry bark, canary grass, string Collection o f Sharon Fortney  Mekw' ye sxeles sxe'ath lis teli kw'e ts'elhxwelmexw Designs Have Special Meanings If you use red cherry bark on the rim, you finish your basket with a trimming o f red that stands for love. So usually i f a mother or a grandmother is making a basket for her granddaughter she'd put red around it - the finishing of the basket, or a lot o f red on it. But i f she's making it for a grandson or a son or a brother or any male in her family, i f she especially wanted them to be strong and powerful she'd put black on the finishing and maybe more black on the designs. But most basket weavers just put designs on that they like, that's pleasant to the eye. A n d maybe there's designs that their mother carried or the grandmother carried. Sometimes an auntie w i l l give you a design and say, "This is for you, you can use it", but that's kind o f mostly lost now.  Sqowothelwet - Xwelixwiya St6:lo siyolexwa Rena Point Bolton, St6:lo Elder, Terrace, 2000 The designs down here along the Fraser are the animal patterns. More like the ravens or the eagle, they put them on. A n d up in the Thompson area we use the diamonds and the Indian trails for good luck and everything like that. 53  So' mele siyolexwa skw'atets Ts'qols Minnie Peters, Nlaka'pamux Elder, Peter's Reserve, Hope, 2000 Table Mathilda Chapman, N l a k a ' p a m u x Mother o f M i n n i e Peters, Grandmother o f Bruce Chapman c. 1925-1928 Cedar root, wood, cherry bark Gift o f Sheila Buchanan & G . S. Scholefield A7252 Table Mathilda Chapman, N l a k a ' p a m u x Mother o f M i n n i e Peters, Grandmother o f Bruce Chapman c. 1925-1928 Cedar root, wood, cherry bark, cat-tail grass Gift o f Sheila Buchanan & G . S. Scholefield A7253  Shxwetalims kw'e lheqtol te ts'elh xwelmexwelh sewiwes Reconnecting with Family History and Heritage Once, my sister Deanna took my mother Sophie Voght Sterling to the Museum o f Anthropology, and M u m recognized her grandmother's baskets. When Deanna looked into the information books she saw that the baskets had been donated by Judge Henry Castillou, who had been the lawyer for W i l l i a m and Theresa K l a m a Voght. M u m said it was good that the baskets were in a safe place. She was so happy to see them.  Dr. Shirley Sterling, Nlaka'pamux Elder, Merritt, 2001 Elder in Residence, UBC First Nations House of Learning A l l good things come from the cedar tree - our long houses, our canoes, our clothing, our baskets, and our spiritual cleansing. M y grandmother knew these things, and was taught by her grandmother. In her memoirs, she talked about being a young girl and learning to weave by coal o i l lamp. Throughout her life, my grandmother made baskets to help support her family o f ten children. It is with great pride that I continue on with the tradition o f my grandmothers, for the power of the cedar tree is to be respected, honoured and remembered.  Sesemiya, Skwxwii7mesh nexw esk'a7xwum, eslha7an Tracy Williams, Squamish Nation Weaver, Mission, 2001 Shopping basket E v a M a y Nahanee, Squamish Nation Grandmother o f Tracy W i l l i a m s After 1965 - Before 1976 Cedar root, cedar wood, cherry bark, canary grass Barbara Wyss Collection o f Cedar Root Baskets o f E v a Nahanee Nbz810  54  Kwelmexwus E v a M a y Nahanee, Skwxwu7mesh u x w x w i m i x w Sesemiya lhen si71s a7awt 1965 - yewan - i w i l h xapay t ' k w ' a m y e x w , xpay', t'elem, saxwi7 Barbara Wyss Collection o f Cedar Root Baskets o f E v a Nahanee Nbz810 Fishing Creel Theresa K l a m a Voght, N l a k a ' p a m u x Great grandmother o f Shirley Sterling Before 1910 Cedar root, cherry bark, bear grass, skin Gift o f Henry Castillou N d 5 7 7 a-b Storage Basket Theresa K l a m a Voght, N l a k a ' p a m u x Great grandmother o f Shirley Sterling Before 1910 Cedar root, cherry bark, bear grass Gift o f Henry Castillou Nd604  Kw'e ts'eqwewelh shxwtelistexw kw'e tale Basket Making is a Source of Income That's all everybody did was make baskets. Y o u know, because we had to go from house to house and just amongst ourselves and we had to go and trade or sell, i f they had money. There was hardly no cash.  Sk'ul's sKeekyick, HI'wat7ulmec Anna Billy, StFatl'imx Elder, Mount Currie There's the young girls, they're trying to learn, but they get started and they forget about it. M e , I have nothing else to do. M y kids are all grown up. So I make baskets just for extra money.  Joan Chapman, St6:lo siyolexwa Sts'iles Joan Chapman, Storlo Elder, Chehalis, Harrison Lake Area P'oth'es qeste q'esi:tel Cradle and Tumpline Adele Peters, St6:Io, Chehalis Mother o f Joan Chapman, Grandmother o f Bruce Chapman Before 1930 Cedar root, cedar wood, cherry bark, cedar bark, canary grass, w o o l , skin, shell Gift o f Joan G o o d a l l N b z 8 0 0 a-b  55  Suitcase Julia Peters, S t l ' a t l ' i m x , M o u n t Currie Grandmother o f A n n a B i l l y , Great grandmother o f Diane B i l l y c. 1893-1911 Cedar root, cedar wood, cherry bark, cat-tail grass, rawhide skin, metal Purchase funded by H . R. M a c M i l l a n A3096 xwel'tin S k ' u l ' s sJulia Peters, lil'wat7ulmec, kwekwa7s sKeekyick, skicza7s ku kwekwa7s sSwanamia Pinani7 1893-1911-a ik'ul'unas Akwal'micw, spakwaz'am, s 7 i w ' c w , p'usten', s k ' v l , muta7 cwik'tenalqw i qwezenasa i k ' u l ' u n ' a s . N i l h s H . R . M a c M i l l a n na az'ental'iha A 3 096  Kw'e ts'eqw'e welh tl'6 shxwthetiwel Weaving is a form of Personal Expression M y mother A n n a B i l l y and another Elder from Mount Currie named Margaret Lester were my teachers. When I first started making baskets like this, I had one go to England. One o f my first ones and I cried. A n d they were an elderly couple, so they took a picture of me with my basket and they went home. A n d they sent me the picture, and they sent me a letter. Every year they send me a letter and tell me how my basket is doing, because I was so... I didn't want to let it go.  Swanamia, Skwxwu7mesh nexw esk'a7xwum, wiwkem Diane Billy, Squamish Nation Weaver, Brackendale M y mom told me that it's always best for you to get your own roots. one that is going to put your sweat into it, you're the one that knows you like to work with. A n d i f somebody else gets your roots for you be the same as i f you got it for yourself. A n d they're not going to be like.  Because you're the the type of roots that then it's not going to the quality that you  Wendy Ritchie, Th'ets'imiye St6:lo Ihelhilt sq'ewqayl sts'elxwiqw Wendy Ritchie, St6:lo Weaver, Skowkale Reserve, Sardis Basket M a r y Jane Joe, S t P a t l ' i m x , Mount Currie Mother o f A n n a B i l l y , Grandmother o f Diane B i l l y Before 1916 Cedar root, cedar wood, cherry bark Mrs. Margaret Celine G i l l Collection Nd691  56  lhk'walus S k ' u l ' s s M a r y Jane Joe, lil'wat7ulmec, skicza7s s K e e k y i c k , kekwa7s sSwanamia Skela7s lhlani7 1916-a i k ' u l ' u n ' a s A k w a l ' m i c w , spakwaz'am, muta7 s 7 i w ' c w i qwezenasa i k ' u l ' u n ' a s . N i l h sMargaret Celine G i l l ti wa7 we7antal'i Ihkunsa Nd691 Basket Diane B i l l y , Squamish Nation, Brackendale Daughter o f A n n a B i l l y 1989 Cedar root, cedar wood, cherry bark, canary grass The Thord " S l i m " and Margaret Fouberg Collection Nbz852 Kwelmexwus Swanamia, Skwxwu7mesh u x w x w i m i x w lha Swanamia nilh mens lha K e e k y i c k 1989 xapay t ' k w ' a m y e x w , xpay', t'elem, saxwi7 The Thord " S l i m " and Margaret Fouberg Collection Nbz852 Basket Diane B i l l y , Squamish Nation, Brackendale Daughter o f A n n a B i l l y  1989 Cedar root, cedar wood, cherry bark, canary grass The Thord " S l i m " and Margaret Fouberg Collection Nbz853 Kwelmexwus Swanamia, Skwxwu7mesh u x w x w i m i x w lha Swanamia nilh mens lha K e e k y i c k 1989 xapay t ' k w ' a m y e x w , xpay', t'elem, saxwi7 The Thord " S l i m " and Margaret Fouberg Collection Nbz853 Tray Diane B i l l y , Squamish Nation; Sandra Lester, Zena Gabriel, Benita Wallace, and Ruth W i l l i a m s , StFatPimx, M o u n t Currie 1989 Cedar root, cedar w o o d , cherry bark, canary grass The Thord " S l i m " and Margaret Fouberg Collection Nd711 H i y i lhax!7tn Swanamia, Skwxwu7mesh u x w x w i m i x w ; Sandra Lester, Zena Gabriel, Benita Wallace, and Ruth W i l l i a m s , M o u n t Currie 1989 xapay t ' k w ' a m y e x w , xpay', t'elem, saxwi7 The Thord " S l i m " and Margaret Fouberg Collection Nd711  57  Nlhaxtsten S k ' u l ' i sDiane B i l l y , sqwxu7mes, muta7 Sandra Lester, Zena Gabriel, Benita Wallace, Ruth W i l l i a m s , IiPwat7ulmec. Pinani7 1989-a i k ' u l ' u n ' i t a s Akwal'micw, spakwaz'am, s 7 i w ' c w , muta7 p'usten' i qwezenitasa ik'ul'un'itas. N i l h w i sThord " S l i m " muta7 Margaret Fouberg i wa7 we7antal'i Ihkunsa. Nd711  Mekw' stam e' hokwex eweta kw'e fkw'etem Everything is Used, Nothing is Wasted We never throw away, no matter how small. Yeah when we're splitting the roots, it doesn't matter how small we put it aside. That goes for that fine basket making. Yeah it's  the one we call ts'a:th'.  Yamalot, St6:lo siyolexwa Sqwa, Sts'elxwiqw Rosaleen George, St6:lo Elder, Skwah Reserve, Chilliwack Knitting Basket A m y Cooper, St6:lo, Cultus Lake c. 1914-1934 Cedar root, cherry bark, cat-tail grass Purchase funded by H . R. M a c M i l l a n A1889 totewelem A m y Cooper, St6:lo siyolexwa T h ' e w a : l i 1914-1934 kwemlexw, stelem, sth'a:qel Purchase funded by H . R . M a c M i l l a n A1889 Awl M a n d y B r o w n , N l a k a ' p a m u x , Lytton Before 1988 Deer metacarpal bone Purchase funded by the Museum o f Anthropology Shop Volunteers Nd712 Miniature Tea Cup and Saucer M a n d y B r o w n , N l a k a ' p a m u x , Lytton Before 1992 Cedar root, cherry bark Purchase funded by the Museum o f Anthropology Shop Volunteers Nd713a-b  58  K w ' e th'oqw'e welh e' shxwexwilemexw Basket M a k i n g is a Family Affair M y grandmother taught me. She lived in Sardis and she taught me when I used to go and visit her all the time. A n d that's where I used to spend all my time. Every weekend I'd go there and just never did stay home here, because I liked being with my grandmother because she always taught me. She taught me all the crafts that I know. Ts'ats'elexwot, St6:lo Ihelhilt shxweyehala sts'elxwiqw Frieda George, St6:lo Weaver, Jimmie Reserve, Chilliwack Frieda, when she started out I told her she had to start out digging her o w n roots. So she went out and got it. The first time she went out, her and her sister, and she came back with the roots and she had a whole bunch o f them in her car. A n d she came back and she showed them to me. I says, " Y o u ' v e got the wrong kind o f roots!" Here she had alder roots, not cedar roots. So she had to take it back and so I showed her. She had a couple of cedar roots all right. She had little tiny ones and I showed her, "That's the kind you're supposed to get." " O h . . . " she says, "I know where there's lots." So she went up there and she had a whole bunch of it when she came down. Ts'ats'elexwot, St6:lo siyolexwa Sq'ewqel, Alamex Elizabeth Herrling, Storlo Elder, Seabird Island, Agassiz Storage Basket Interior Salish Artist unknown Date unknown Cedar root, cherry bark, cat-tail grass, deer skin D 1.277 a-b  Sts'eqw sitel qex xwe xwilmexw lheq'lexw Coiled Basketry is shared by the many Salish Peoples These baskets are made by a method called coiling. The basket maker builds up a coiled basket by sewing each row to the previous one by piercing a hole with an awl. Y o u might notice that the coils o f these baskets differ. Some have a flat appearance while others are round. The shapes o f the coils reflect what is used inside - strips o f cedar wood are used in the rectangular ones and pieces o f root fibres in the round ones. A l o n g the Northwest Coast, only the Salish peoples use this method o f basket making. Coiled basketry is thought to have spread to the Coast from the Salish peoples of the Interior.  59  Qex lets'lot tel sale tel tl'osu mekw' skwi kwex These Baskets Have Many Names There are three Salish languages featured in this exhibit as a sign of respect to the people who made these baskets. Two languages are missing because I could not find translators: Nlaka'pamux and Comox. Verley N e d o f Sumas provided Halkomelem translations for this exhibit. She is a textbook writer for St6:lo Shxweli. Verley was assisted in her work by Siyamiyateiyot Elizabeth Phillips, translator, mentor and teacher at St6:lo Shxweli. Tracy Williams and Squamish Elder Lawrence Baker provided the Squamish translations. Dr. Henry Davis of the Linguistics Department of the University o f British Columbia provided the translations for the Stl'atl'imx baskets.  60  


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