Indian Time - A Voice from the Eastern Door

Celebration of the Onkwatherekowa "Our Big Basket"


The unveiling of the "Big Basket."

On Thursday, July 26, 2018 the Akwesasne Tourism Group hosted an evening of celebration to honor talented basketmakers throughout Akwesasne. The celebration took place at the Akwesasne Housing Authority Training Room, located at 378 State Route 37 in Akwesasne. The event began at 5:00 with welcoming remarks followed by the Native North American Travelling College reciting the Ohenton Kariwatehkwen, before the event officially began.

Gail McDonald of the Akwesasne Tourism Group spoke to the audience, giving a brief history of the "Big Basket" and the 28 basketmakers who helped to make it a reality. This project has been a long time in the making with local basketmakers bringing the basket to fruition throughout the last year. The "Big Basket" was set up at the 2017 Akwesasne Powwow catching the eye of many who passed by and giving it more exposure. Basketmakers were asked to help out by weaving black ash splint around the basket at least one time.

There were many hands helping to create the "Big Basket". All the basketmakers who volunteered their time to create the "Big Basket" were:

Edith Chubb Adams

Judy Hemlock Cole

Debbie Cook-Jacobs

Lorena David

Richard David

Carrie Hill

Julie Jacobs

Talon Jacobs

Denise Jock

Angello Johnson

John Sawatis-Johnson

Josephine Lazore

Robin Lazore

Delia McDonald

Laura "Molay" McDonald

Tobi Mitchell

Ann Mitchell

Laura Mitchell

Russell Phillips

Nanci Ransom

Sheila Ransom

Wanda Sharrow

Dyan Swamp

Glenn Swamp

Curtis Terrance

Delia Terrance

Ann Wheesk

Gary White

The basket is one of a kind and a treasure for Akwesasne to have. The "Big Basket" will be put on display throughout Akwesasne before finally making its home at the Akwesasne Cultural Center & Museum.

Many of the basketmakers who helped with the "Big Basket" were honoured with a gift of appreciation for their talent and time. Pictured are all the basketmakers who were able to make the event. Photo by SRMT Communications.

Towards the end of the event, family members of the late Mary Adams addressed the audience. They gave a beautiful memoir of one of Akwesasne's most famous basketmakers. A display of some of Mary Adams' baskets were set up on one side of the room, showing how talented she was and giving participants a rare view of her collection of baskets. It was said that Mary Adams' hands weaved approximately 25,000 baskets throughout her life.

One of the most beautiful things of the evening was to see all the basketmakers stand together, receiving recognition of their talent.

Penny Peters of the Akwesasne Tourism Group stated, "I want to thank the Akwesasne Museum for purchasing the plexiglass case."

The plexiglass case was not used during this event because of the size of it and it not being able to fit in the training room. This will most likely be one of the only times community members will be able to get up close to the "Big Basket" before the case is put over it. If you have a chance to see the "Big Basket," it is definitely worth the time to stop and admire the talent and love put into Akwesasne's "Big Basket."


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