Weaving A Legacy – Paper

Indian Baskets and the People of Owens Valley, California

Situated on the western edge of the Great Basin between the Sierra Nevada and White-Inyo mountain ranges, Owens Valley has been home for thousands of years to the Owens Valley Paiute and their southern neighbors, the Panamint Shoshone. The willow baskets both groups created are noteworthy for their complex construction and durability, and their materials and designs reflected available resources as well as the seminomadic existence that characterized life in the Great Basin for generations.

Since the mid-nineteenth-century arrival of non-Indians into the Valley, the baskets have changed. Weaving a Legacy places those changes in the context of the region’s dramatic social history. In addition, the volume closely examines basketry techniques and technology, historic weavers and their lineages, contemporary weavers, and basket collectors.

The text is extensively illustrated with black-and-white photographs of people, landscapes, and baskets. Among the legacies of these baskets are the stories they evoke, many of which the authors recount in this beautiful work.

Sharon Dean and Peggy Ratcheson hold Ph.D.'s in cultural anthropology and have extensive experience as museum curators.

Judith Finger is an independent scholar with expertise in Owens Valley basketry.

Craig Bates is curator of ethnography at the Yosemite Museum.

The late Ellen Daus was a writer and museum volunteer.

Praise and Reviews:

"A unique and very worthwhile contribution....The scholarship is not only sound, but it is also innovative, and the materials add considerably to the field of California/Great Basin studies as well as to that of basketry studies in general."—Catherine Fowler, University of Nevada, Reno

"This is an excellent resource, one of the few that gives a review of a region of basket makers and the context in which they wove."—Suzanne Griset, Arizona State Museum