Written by Briana Herring, Senior Honors student at Western Carolina University
The following is an abstract of a longer research paper written for Robert Ferguson’s History class. If you would like more information please email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Basket making is a tradition among southern Appalachian women, including members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indian. It not only has its roots in southern Appalachia, but it continues to be something that is kept alive and revived even today. The materials that are used are important because they provide weavers with a link to their traditions and forebearers. The techniques that are used are also important because they not only help determine how sturdy the baskets are, but they also create different patterns like the “Noonday Sun” pattern or the “Serpent” pattern. Preparing these materials is also important because it determines whether they are useable or not. These techniques are things that are passed down through the generations from women like Eastern Band of Cherokee member Lottie Queen Stamper, who not only taught her niece, Eva Wolfe, but also took her skills to local schools and instructed children how to weave.. From grandmother, to mother, to daughter, basketmaking is an important skill that also provides some income. The process of basket making hasn’t just been appreciated by the Cherokee, but also the Appalachian communities around them. Not only have Appalachian women found a way to keep these traditions alive, but they have also been able to sell their baskets and teach others to appreciate their traditions.