Rivercane

Cherokee Basketmaking

Cherokee Basketmaking

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Ramona Lossie

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Lucille Lossiah

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Emma Garrett

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Lucille Lossiah

Cherokee basketmaker

Cherokee, NC (Qualla Boundary)

Lucille Lossiah makes double and single weave baskets from white oak, maple, and rivercane. She strips her own cane to make splits and dyes these herself with black walnut, yellowroot, and bloodroot. She learned the family styles of weaving from her mother, Mary Jane Lossiah, and her grandmother, Betty Lossiah. Maple weaving, she says, is her favorite because she learned it first. Her knowledge of the basketweaving tradition became crucial several years ago when she and her sister Ramona became the only living practitioners of that art among the Eastern Band.

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Ramona Lossie

Cherokee basketmaker

Cherokee, NC (Qualla Boundary)

Ramona Lossie demonstrates double-weave rivercane, white oak, and basketmaking. She can also teach hands-on workshops to groups of any age, but particularly enjoys working with young people. Using pre-packaged materials, she will teach workshops on weaving white oak and maple baskets. Her workshops on rivercane basketweaving begin with collecting the rivercane, making splints, dyeing splints, and finally weaving the basket.

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Emma Garrett

Cherokee basketmaker

Robbinsville, NC (Graham County)

Emma Jackson Garrett made river cane baskets, the oldest basketry tradition among the Cherokee. Only a few women in the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians still make these beautiful baskets. She collected her own rivercane and dyed it with bloodroot or walnut. She also made white oak baskets.

Born and raised in Snowbird, the Cherokee community in Graham County, Emma Garrett grew up watching her grandmother Molly Brown make baskets. In the Cherokee tradition, she observed and then "slipped off by herself to figure it out," she said.

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