Central California Indian Basket Weavers Retreat

Central Native Californian basketweaving

In 2002, Central California Indian Basket Weavers Retreat used support from ACTA’s Traditional Arts Development Program for a first retreat for the experienced Indian basketweavers/teachers of Central California in April 2002.  The retreat allowed seventeen weavers to work for four days continuously without time restraints or interruptions.  The weavers, who are spread out geographically, used the retreat time to share and learn from each other, exchanging weaving and gathering tips, as well as other cultural information.

Kathy Wallace (Karuk/Yurok/Hoopa), director of the retreat and participating weaver said, “We hoped to provide a calm oasis in the weaver’s/teacher’s busy lives to get rest if they needed it, so they could be more productive and encouraged to continue.  We wanted to provide the time to start a new basket, complete one set aside, or become familiar with a new design or technique with experienced weavers at hand to give advice if needed.”

Weaver Kathleen Smith (Dry Creek Pomo/Bodega Miwok/Goat Rock Pomo said of the retreat, “I and a few others are now the living inheritors of our traditional way of learning and teaching Southern Pomo/Lytton basketry.  I was able to reflect upon the circumstance, the role I choose to have in order for future Southern Pomo weavers to learn in a traditional way and what adjustments future weavers may need to deal with in order for a supreme craft to continue.”


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