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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Basketmaking Guides and the Appropriation of Indigenous Basketry


The first quarter of the twentieth century saw Anglo entrepreneurs rapidly develop how-to books, instructional kits, and models for the manufacture of American Indian-style baskets. Purveyors appropriated styles, stitches, and tribal names, and zealously marketed such creations as more affordable than the purchase of an Indigenous basket. Books, imported materials such as raffia and rattan, and stitching methods were disseminated not only across the country and internationally, but to American Indian boarding schools, where instruction not only resulted in appropriation, but also in deculturing the Indigenous basket and Native peoples.

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