Friday, September 16, 2005


I am an enrolled citizen of the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma. My grandfather was a minor on the Dawes Rolls. I have been fascinated by Indian baskets since I was young. It wasn't until recently I learned how to weave these beautiful baskets.

My Family:

My family information is included in the Cherokee Heritage Center for their First Families, under Nancy Ward and Kingfisher. Katy, the daughter of Kingfisher and Nancy, married Ellis Harlan. Their son Ezekiel Harlan I believe died in the old Cherokee Nation in the East after 1817 but before 1838.

Craig County, OK was named after Granville Craig, the brother of my 2nd great grandmother, Louisa Jane Craig m Huff D. Coats. She was the daughter of Eliza Harlan and Samuel Craig, Eliza being the daughter of the above Ezekiel Harlan.

I weave two types of baskets, the double wall of Oklahoma and the double woven baskets of the Southeast. I live in CA so river cane is not available here and as such my baskets currently are made of Hamburg/Bleached cane, so they are classified as contemporary Cherokee Baskets.

My very favorite of these two are the old Southeastern Cherokee Double woven baskets. I believe the cane is thicker than the river cane, so the baskets are a bit bulkier than if using river cane.

I am growing river cane however and hope in the near future to process and weave baskets from the original material of River Cane used by the Cherokee in the Southeast. Commercial cane however, is also an excellent material for leaning to weave the baskets or for weaving these baskets if River Cane is not available to you.

The double wall baskets of Oklahoma are usually made of Buck brush, honey suckle or willow. Once again not having access to these materials I use commercial reed. Reed is likewise a very good material for learning how to weave these baskets or for weaving these if you do not have access to the natural materials.

The processing of the natural materials can be quite time consuming when first learning to weave. So use of the commercial material is probably better for learning.

However, remember a basket made with any commercial materials is considered a Contemporary basket even though it may be woven in a traditional style. A tradition basket is one woven using all natural materials. These instructions are for a Contemporary Cherokee Basket with a traditional weave.