Spring 2020

A Silent Killer: Black Ash Basket Makers are Battling a Voracious Beetle to Keep Their Heritage Alive

Many American Indian and First Nation basket makers rely upon black ash trees. However, the emerald ash borer has killed millions of ash trees. A band of Native women basket makers are fighting to protect remaining black ash trees, and a unique Smithsonian partnership could help them keep their heritage alive.

Spring 2020

In this black ash strawberry basket by artist Kelly Church (Odawa/Pottawatomi), the black ash and sweetgrass blossoms and miniature strawberries hanging from the blossom vines represent the future generations. The doll on top is the “grandmother,” who watches over those to come. Tribes throughout the Great Lakes and Northeast give strawberry baskets in ceremonies to honor life events, such as births, and during the time of “our strawberry moon,” says Church. She is among the artists speaking at the Thoughts of Our People from “Hearts of Our People” symposium at NMAI on March 28.