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Culture:Native American; American Indian; Pequot or Mohegan
Title:Basket with strawberry design
Date Made:ca. 1850-1860s
Materials:Black ash and paint
Place Made:North America; United States; Northeast, possibly Connecticut
Measurements:overall: 13 3/8 in x 16 1/2 in x 11 in; 33.9725 cm x 41.91 cm x 27.94 cm
Accession Number:  MH SK K.127
Credit Line:Joseph Allen Skinner Museum, Mount Holyoke College
Museum Collection:  The Joseph Allen Skinner Museum at Mount Holyoke College

Painted basket and matching lid, woven with strips of wood. Slats are painted with a pattern of red and yellow half circle strawberry designs. Upright strips painted with green oval leaves. Rectangular with rounded edges.

Label Text:
I love this basket because it’s like a precious link to my native culture. I would love to hold this basket in order to hold the forest, to hold the tree that made it. The tree selected to make a basket needs to be straight and healthy, but my grandmother told me never to take the best tree. Use a tree that is good for the purpose of the basket, but always take the second best – that is respecting the forest and the tree.

Baskets such as this were made through teamwork, with men splitting, cutting, and pounding the wood and women doing the weaving. The decoration may be a combination of the sun design in the yellow and pink circles, and the berry design with the leaves. Based on the cover and its size, this basket was probably used for storage or sewing. I would love to feel this basket to feel the hands of the person who made it, to feel the essence of the person, who was possibly my ancestor.

– Gail Rokotuibau, White Hair Smiling, Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Elder and basket-maker

indigenous people; Native American

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