Fawn Douglas, Paiute Winnowing Basket, reed and willow, 18"x10", 2019
The art of basket weaving was a skill of the Southern Paiute. Today, very few know these ways and this art form has been dormant for many years. I organized a revitalization of these ways back in November by hosting a Great Basin Basket Weaver, Loretta Burden, to share her knowledge. Although it is not within the traditions of being passed this knowledge from elder to daughter and so on, we have to be innovative. Times are changing and we have to confront our shortcomings as Native people. What of the tribal members that want to learn and unfortunately, their mother or grandmother didn’t practice the art? Or families are suffering from drug or alcohol abuse and cannot touch traditions? Many members attended the workshop and were happy to learn from Loretta Burden. She is a Northern Paiute elder and was happy to pass the ways to Southern Paiute attendees. The practice of cross-cultural knowledge has been an important tool to cultural continuity. I have learned from a weaver from Ohlone (California), Havasupai (Arizona) and recently Northern Paiute (Nevada). This outreach was essential to learning ways and giving that spark back to our people. This approach was a necessary effort in Indigenous teachings for urban-based Natives. The result was community strengthening and the Paiute Winnowing Basket.