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- Art & Artifact: The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians and Black Ash Baskets
Art & Artifact: The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians and Black Ash Baskets
This event will explore the importance of black ash baskets to the resiliency and sovereignty of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians. In the mid-1970’s, women of the community organized The Black Ash Basket Co-Op to renew and pass on the art and skill of black ash basket making. Scholar John N. Low (Pokagon Potawatomi) will examine how the co-op and the baskets became an essential catalyst in the community's struggle for restoration of federal recognition. Looking to the present, he will consider the ongoing power of basketry and the threat invasive species pose to this iconic Pokagon Potawatomi tradition. Artist Christine Rapp-Morseau (Pokagon Potawatomi), who hails from a long line of Pokagon black ash basket makers, will discuss and demonstrate her practice, drawing on works-in-progress and her own photographs. A 2018 basket by Rapp-Morseau was recently acquired by the museum and is currently on view in Revisions: Contemporary Native Art (closing May 18).
John N. Low is the author of Imprints: the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians and the City of Chicago (2016). He is an associate professor in the Department of Comparative Studies and Affiliated Faculty in the Program in American Indian Studies at the Ohio State University – Newark. His research interests include American Indian Histories, Literatures, and Cultures, Indigenous canoe cultures around the world, Urban American Indians, museums, material culture and representation, memory studies, American Indian law and treaty rights, Indigenous cross-cultural connections, critical landscape studies, and Native environmental perspectives and practices.
Image: Christine Rapp-Morseau, Wisgak Gokbenagen (Black Ash Basket), 2018. Wisgak, wishbemishkos (black ash wood, sweet grass) © Christine Marie Rapp-Morseau. Image credit: Big Idea Company