Project members at the NNATC in the spring of 2017: John Medicine Horse Kelly, Anna Hoefnagels, Sarah Konwahahawi Rourke, Raienkonnis Edwards, Miranda Brady, Kate Higginson, and Amanda Tarbell.

The late Salli Benedict of the Mohawk Nation at Akwesasne collected traditional hand-crafted baskets from around the Great Lakes region, recognizing the importance of these items, their creation, and associated teachings to the community. The Salli Benedict basket collection and very detailed information on each basket was given to the Native North American Travelling College (NNATC) in Akwesasne to house and display so that visitors to the centre can also view and appreciate them.

Selected baskets from the Salli Benedict collection at the Native North American Travelling College.

Researchers from Carleton University’s Centre for Indigenous Research, Culture, Language & Education (CIRCLE) and the Great Lakes Alliance for Research on Indigenous Arts & Cultures (GRASAC) have teamed up with the NNATC to identify connections between this collection and others in the GRASAC knowledge sharing database. The team is finding links between the Salli Benedict collection and audio visual (AV) materials that capture basket making and its cultural significance in the community.

John Medicine Horse Kelly and Raienkonnis Edwards discuss how to best preserve the content from older AV materials.

As part of this process the team is digitizing AV collections that include important teachings about Haudenosaunee culture and creating digital records of the Salli Benedict basket collection. In addition to creating GRASAC records, the broader goals are to save important teachings that are currently on degrading AV media and to make information about the cultural significance of basket making more accessible to the community and beyond.

Anna, Wahsontiio and Kate work to photograph, measure and document the basket collection.

Team Members:

Miranda J. Brady, Anna Hoefnagels, Kahente Horn-Miller, John Medicine Horse Kelly (CIRCLE, Carleton), and Martha Attridge Bufton (Carleton University Library/CIRCLE); Amanda Tarbell (NNATC Museum Coordinator), JoAnn Swamp (Acting Co-Director, NNATC), Kathy Herne (Acting Co-Director, NNATC), Dave Kanietakeron Fadden (Artist & Educator, NNATC), Kahentawaks Perkins (NNATC AV Technician) and Raienkonnis Edwards (NNATC AV Technician); Kate Higginson and Wahsontiio Cross (GRASAC).

Even the rose on this lovely hat made by Cecelia Sunday is carefully made from black ash splint!

{Note: the Strawberry basket featured in the thumbnail image for this page was made by Christie Jacobs.} 

Written by Miranda Brady, with photos by Kate Higginson