Margaret Mitchell
Slideshow image

Canada recognized Nlaka'pamux basket making for its national historic significance this month with a ceremony at Lytton.

Matilda Borden liked to pour a cup of tea to display her basket making expertise, proving her cups made from material gathered in British Columbia's forests were watertight, says her granddaughter Brenda Crabtree. Not one drop would leak, recalls Crabtree, who is also a basket-making artist and Aboriginal programs director at Emily Carr University of Art and Design in Vancouver. "She was showing off and it's really, truly the mark of a master weaver," she said of her grandmother who died in 1975.

Among First Nations, basket weavers have always been held in high regard, said John Haugen of the Nlaka'pamux Nation from B.C.'s Fraser Canyon.  "If you were a good basket maker and somebody else wanted your baskets they would have food to trade with you or other items." Now the baskets are gaining more notice than just being functional works of art. [Full article here]