Amy Barber Washoe Indian Basket

November 19, 2016

washoe-large-basket.JPGAmy Barber (1910-2000) came from a long line of Washoe basket weavers.

Along with master basket weaver Dat-So-La-Lee, Amy Barber helped to preserve the tradition and culture of the Washoe in their beautiful baskets.

Pictured here is one of Amy’s baskets. It is an “unusually large single-rod, open stitch Washoe basket made by Amy Barber in the 1930’s. It is 5 ½” high and 11 ½” in diameter. The design is executed in redbud and bracken fern root.”

washoe-degikup-05.JPGThis Washoe degikup (left photo) is from the first quarter of the 20th century. The design is similar to that found on the baskets of Tillie Snooks (1874-1945). This basket, made of willow, bracken fern, and redbud coiled on a three-rod foundation, measures 4″ high and 7 ½” in diameter.

More about Amy Barber (from the Record Courier, 2000)

Amy Barber, was a traditional Washoe basket weaver and lifelong resident of Woodfords, California where she lived until the age of 90. Mrs. Barber was born on Aug. 31, 1910, at Walley’s Hot Springs to Tom and Nettie Barber.

She was the cook at Woodfords Elementary School in the 1940 and worked in Los Angeles in the late ’40s before returning to Carson Valley, where she worked for different ranches and restaurants.

She was the first Native American Head Start teacher’s aide in Minden at Minden Grammar School in 1965. She also cooked at the Dresslerville Head Start program.

Mrs. Barber enjoyed gathering and preparing traditional Washoe foods and prepared acorn biscuits for a delegation of visitors from the Yavapai Apache Nation at her home.

Mrs. Barber came from a long line of basket weavers and won awards for her work at the Tuolume, Calif., Indian Basket Weavers gathering and twice was recognized at the Wa She Shu It de Festival at Lake Tahoe. She was a master teacher of her craft under the Folk Arts Apprenticeship Program with the Nevada Council on the Arts.

She was a founder of the Washoe Language Circle and enjoyed contributing her considerable knowledge to the most recent renewal of the language. She was honored as Senior Citizen of the Year by the Alpine County Board of Supervisors in 1980.