Native basketweavers from California and Nevada gather at the Gatekeeper’s Museum in Tahoe City, Calif. for the annual Basketweavers’ Gathering in August.
Basketry will include storage, wicker and burden baskets, bowls, trays, tule duck decoys, gift baskets, beaded baskets, miniatures and jewelry made from willow, red bud, fern and pine needles. “Nuts to Soup” – a demonstration of acorn processing from the raw nut to the finished food will also take place.
Baskets were once critical survival tools and sacred tools of worship found in virtually all North American native cultures. Today, the creation of these functional and/or ceremonial containers is a highly stylized art, kept alive by dedicated artists and passed along to successive generations from person to person.
The Gatekeeper’s Museum sits on grounds where Washoe people spent their summertime months from ancient times, and gathered for similar events. The current Washoe Tribe chairperson, Wanda Batchelor, recently visited the museum and gave it a nod of approval. The Gatekeeper’s Museum is also home to the Marion Steinbach Indian Basket Museum, a world-class collection of over 800 utilitarian and fine baskets from more than 80 tribes throughout California and western North America, including the Washoe people. In addition, the museum features the Bogart Washoe Basket Collection of exclusively Washoe baskets.
“The Basketweavers’ Gathering presents a rare occasion to gather together with master weavers and artisans from multiple tribes” said executive director Marguerite Sprague. “It’s an important opportunity to listen and learn about native history and culture.”
Visitors will also enjoy “From Nuts to Soup,” a demonstration by Jennifer Bates and Kimberly Stevenot, of processing acorns from the raw nuts to soup using traditional, millennia-old methods.
Native weavers will be selling baskets as well as weaving during the weekend event. Basket appraiser John Rauzy will be onsite and, for a small donation to the museum, will appraise the value of baskets brought in by visitors as well.
A donation of $5 for NLTHS members and $10 for non-members is suggested for the event and includes admission to the museum. Children ages 12 and under are free with an adult.
The North Lake Tahoe Historical Society operates two museums in Tahoe City: Watson Cabin Museum and the Gatekeeper’s Museum, featuring the Marion Steinbach Indian Basket Collection showcasing more than 800 baskets from 85 tribes west of the Rocky Mountains. The North Lake Tahoe Historical Society’s mission is to preserve and present Lake Tahoe history both regionally and in the larger context of the American West. For more information call (530) 583-1762 or visit www.gatekeepersmuseum.com.
The Gatekeeper’s Museum is located lakeside, just south of the “Y” in Tahoe City. This event will be held on the Museum grounds in Layton Park.