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Native American Indian Baskets

Basket-weaving is one of the oldest known Native American crafts--there are ancient Indian baskets from the Southwest that have been identified by archaeologists as nearly 8000 years old. As with most Native American art, there were originally multiple distinct basketry traditions in North America.

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Different tribes used different natural materials, tools, weaving techniques, basket shapes, and characteristic patterns. Northeast Indian baskets, for example, were traditionally woven out of pounded ash splints or braided sweetgrass. Cherokee and other Southeast Indian baskets were traditionally made from bundled pine needles or rivercane wicker. Southwestern Indians make baskets from tightly coiled sumac or willow wood, and Pacific Northwest Indians typically weave with cedar bark, swamp grass, and spruce root. Plateau tribes like the Paiute make twined baskets from hemp, while California tribes often stitch beads and feathers into their grass or reed baskets. Northern Indian tribes like the Chippewa craft birchbark baskets, and some Inuit groups even make baskets of whale baleen. As native people were displaced from their traditional lands and lifestyles, their traditions of tribal basketweaving started to change somewhat as they adapted to new materials and absorbed the customs of new neighbors. In Oklahoma, where many tribes were interred together, a new fusion style of basketweaving even arose. However, unlike some traditional native crafts, the original diversity of Native American basket types is still very much evident today.

If you are looking to buy baskets that were actually woven by Native Americans--either because it's important to you to have the real thing or because you want to support native people with your purchase--then here is our list of American Indian artists whose basketry is available for sale online. If you have a website of native baskets to add to this list, let us know We gladly advertise any individual native artist or native-owned art store here free of charge, provided that all baskets were handmade by tribally recognized American Indian, Inuit, or First Nation artists.

Thank you for your interest in Native American art!

Native American Basket Stores

On our main site we do our best to avoid slowing down our page loading with graphics, but this page is about art, so we'd really be remiss in not showing a few representative basket pictures. All photos are the property of their respective artists; please visit their sites to see their work in more depth.

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Southwest Indian Wicker and Coil Baskets

Southwestern Indian Baskets
Gallery of Navajo wedding baskets and other Southwest coiled basketry
by modern Navajo and Hopi Indian weavers.
Hopi Indian Baskets and Plaques
Coiled Native American baskets and woven wicker plaques by contemporary
Hopi basketmakers.
Hopi Market Basket Plaques
Another nice selection of Hopi wicker and coil basket plaques.
Tohono O'odham Basketweavers Organization
Basketry art for sale online from a cooperative of Papago Indian artists.

California Indian Twined Baskets

Northern California Indian Basketry
Twined basket crafts from the Yurok, Hupa, and other
Indian tribes of Northern California.
California Indian Baskets
Antique Pomo and other California Indian basketry crafts,
including trinket baskets, willow burden baskets, and basket hats.

Woodland Indian Birchbark, Splint, and Sweetgrass Baskets

Canadian First Nations Basket Arts
Birch bark baskets from the Ojibway, Dene, and Atikamekw tribes.
Penobscot Brown Ash Basketry
Award-winning decorative ash splint baskets. Email the artist for prices/availability.
Maine Indian Baskets
Black ash and sweet grass baskets by three Wabanaki artists.
Harraseeket Basketry
Ash splint baskets and fishing creels by another good Penobscot artist. Her niece is learning traditional basketmaking now and has her own site, Wind Dancer Basketry, where you can find good baskets in similar styles.

Southeast Indian Rivercane and Pine Needle Baskets

Chitimacha River Cane Baskets
Traditional Southeast Indian rivercane baskets by an award-winning Chitimacha weaver.
Great Smokies Cherokee Baskets
Single- and double-wall Cherokee baskets from the Eastern Cherokee tribal art gallery.

Northwest Coast and Native Alaskan Cedar Bark and Grass Baskets

West Coast Weaving
Traditional swamp grass baskets and mats by a Nuu-Chah-Nulth basket-weaver.
She weaves Northwest Coast basket hats and cloaks, too.
Alaska Native Artists
Spruce root and seagrass baskets by Haida and Unangan weavers. Proceeds benefit an Alaska Native organization.
Alaskan Native Baskets
Native cedar bark and spruce root baskets woven by a Tlingit artist.

Mexican and Central American Basketry

Sierra Madre Indian Baskets
Woven fiber baskets from Mexican and Central American Indian tribes such as the Tarahumara, Pima, and Seri.
Tarahumara Indian Baskets
Yucca baskets woven by the Tarahumara people of Mexico.

Indian Quillwork Baskets

East Coast and Plains Indians were well-known for embroidering their regalia and jewelry with colorful porcupine quill designs, and they also wove the stiff quills into small baskets and birch-bark boxes. Some native artists, particularly the Ojibwe, still carry this tradition on today. Visit our quillwork gallery to view Indian quill baskets for sale.

Parfleche

The Plains Indian tribes did not generally do much in the way of basketry arts. Instead, they made containers called parfleche out of rawhide (hard, untanned leather) and painted them with traditional pigments. Some of these containers, particularly in the north, were shaped like birchbark baskets, but more often they were in the form of boxes, handbags, or cylindrical quivers. Some Plains artists still carry this tradition on today. Visit our Indian bags gallery to view parfleche and tanned leather pouches for sale.

Books About Native American Baskets
Our organization earns a commission from any book bought through these Amazon links

Southwestern Indian Baskets The Fine Art of California Indian Basketry American Indian Basketry Indian Basketry
Photographs and in-depth exploration of native southwestern coil basketry. Color photos, art history, and interviews with California basket weavers. 1904 anthropology/art history text with lots of old basket photos. More recent art history book on Native American basket making.


Indian Basket Weaving Spruce Root Basketry of the Haida and Tlingit Baleen Basketry of the North Alaskan Eskimo
Illustrated instructions for native basket-weaving by the Navajo School of Indian Basketry. Photography and descriptions of Northwest Indian baskets and basket garments. Here's an interesting book on the modern Inuit basket weaving tradition.

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American Indian Basket Links

Other good internet resources for learning about or purchasing Native American baskets include:

The Indian Arts and Crafts Act: US law against passing off fake American Indian crafts as authentic.
Native American Basketry: Description and photographs showing how native coiled, woodsplint, and sweetgrass baskets are made.
Native Basketry: Survival, Beauty: In-depth articles and pictures of different kinds of American Indian baskets.
North American Indian Basketry: Article about native basket art by a California Indian weaver.
California Indian Basketweaver Association: Native basketry organization working on behalf of California Indian artists.
Northwest Native American Basketweavers Association: Organization supporting Northwestern Indian artists in the US and Canada.
Crazy Crow Trading Post: Native-owned store selling traditional crafting supplies and kits.
California Indian Basket Museum: Online photo gallery of Mission Indian baskets and other indigenous Southwestern basketry.
Hopi Baskets: Two photo-essays on Hopi Indian basketweaving.
Hopi Basketry: History, techniques, and photo galleries of Hopi Indian baskets from the Second and Third Mesa.
Walk In Beauty: Article on the history and traditions of weaving Navajo baskets.
California Indian Basketry: History and photographs of Native American baskets from the various California tribes.

About us: This website belongs to Native Languages of the Americas, a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and promoting endangered Native American languages. We do not sell baskets ourselves, so if you are interested in buying some of the baskets featured on this page, please contact the artists directly. This is not an exhaustive list of American Indian baskets--if you would like us to add your native basket site to this page, please contact us with your URL and tribal affiliation. We advertise any individual Native artist or Native-owned gift shop here free of charge.



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