Story by Samantha-Jo Roth
Arizona State Museum hosted a celebration honoring the basketry traditions of Arizona’s native cultures on Nov. 2.
Native weavers of the Akimel O’odham, Apache, Hopi, Chemehuevi, Navajo and Tohono O’odham were represented.
During a visit to AZ Illustrated Arts, Sally Black, a member of the Navajo Nation, talked about making baskets with sumac, a plant harvested along riverbanks.
She said her son is the inspiration for her hummingbird baskets.
When I had a son, a hummingbird came through the window, Black said.
“The hummingbird shook his wings, and corn pollen fell off on my hand. I blessed my son with that, and now he is an artist," she said.
In addition to sumac, others make baskets with agave.
Contemporary basketry expresses important ethical and philosophical beliefs in each tribe. Each style is unique and varies from tribe to tribe.