The Carriers of Culture: Living Native Basket Traditions" project is directed by Marsha MacDowell, Ph.D. and C. Kurt Dewhurst, Ph.D. of Michigan State University Museum.

Members of Curatorial Advisory Council
Jennifer Bates, Salli Benedict, Sally Black, Sheree Bonaparte, Peggy Brennan, Sue Ellen Herne, Sara Greensfelder, Elaine Grinnell, Terrol Dew Johnson (through 2005), Sabra Kauka, Gloria Lomehaftewa (through 2005), Fred Nahwooksy, Jennifer Neptune (2004-2005), Theresa Parker, Bernadine Phillips (beginning 2005), Teri Rofkar, Robin McBride Scott (beginning 2005), Theresa Secord (through 2005), Tatiana Lomehaftewa Slock (through 2005), and Laura Wong-Whitebear (beginning 2005).

Michigan State University Museum
Juan Alvarez, Jilda Anthony, Michele Beltran, Val Berryman, Beth Donaldson, Francie Freese, David Genord III, Marie Gile, Lora Helou, Brian Kirschensteiner, Susan Applegate Krouse, Jane Lott, Joanna Lankerd, Julie Levy-Weston, Julia Meade, Kris Morrissey, Jekeia Murphy, Erin Slayter, Lynne Swanson, Sunny Wang, Pearl Yee Wong, and Mary Worrall.

National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution
Chris Arnold, Howard Bass, Vernon Chimealrea, Justin Estoque, Karen Fort, Jessica Johnson, Tim Johnson, Keevin Lewis, Linda Martin, Kate Mitchell, Erik Satrum, Helen Scheirbeck, Richard West, and Augusta Lehman.

Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, Smithsonian Institution
Jeff Place, Arlene Reiniger, Richard Kurin, Richard Kennedy, Krystyn Confaiir, Diana N'Diaye, Betty Belanus, Frank Proschan, and Diana Parker.

Next Generations Project
Valorie Johnson, Sara Greensfelder, Malia Villegas, Rainy Greensfelder, Linda Martin, Minnie Wabanimkee, and RJ Joseph.

Brian Bibby, Dawn Biddison, Deborah Boykin, Peggy Sanders Brennan, Tina Bucavalas, Vernon Chimealrea, Sue Coleman, Marit Dewhurst, Betty DuPree, Carol Edison, Lynn Martin Graton, Sara Greensfelder, Theresa Harlan, Suzi Jones, Amy Kitchener, Jim Leary, Dayna Bowker Lee, Elizabeth Lee, Molly Lee, Richard March, Kathleen Mundell, Laura Quackenbush, Karen Reed, Teri Rofkar, Elaine Thatcher, Theresa Secord, Malia Villegas, Lois Whitney, and Robin K. Wright.

General Thanks (Individuals)
Marcia Balleweg, Theresa Bell, Barry Bergey, Shannon Brawley, Bruce Bernstein, Carrie Brown, John Browne Jr., Vicki Browne, Schroeder Cherry, Varrick Chittenden, Kathy Clewell, George Cornell, Greg Cox, Alan Dorian, Bonnie Ekdahl, Debbie Fant, Johnny Faulkner, Charlotte Fox, Michael Hammond, Drew Harty, Lisa Hershey, Heather Howard-Bobiwash, Meredith Hubel, Margaret Hunt, Valorie Johnson, Willie Johnson, Tina Johnston, R. J. Joseph, Herb Kaneko, Chris Kauwe, Joyce LeCompte-Mastenbrook, Vickie Ledford, Anne E. O'Malley, Richard Meade, Nancy Nusz, Loretta Oden, Anna Palomino, Lucy Parker, Betsy Peterson, Tom Pich, Mark Puryear, Tristan Reader, Ginger Ridgway, Patricia Rouen, Wesley Sen, Donna Stewart, Momi Thacker, Paul Wallace, and Cameron Wood.

General Thanks (Organizations)
Bishop Museum, California Indian Basketweavers Association, Northwest Native American Basketweavers Association, Oklahoma Native America Basketweavers Association, Tohono O'odham Basketweavers Organization, Qualla Arts and crafts Mutual, Inc., Traditional Arts in Upstate New York, Twin Rocks Trading Post, Utah Arts Council, Maine Indian Basketmakers Alliance, Great Lakes Indian Basket and Boxmakers Association, Great Basin Native Basketweavers Association, Ulana Me Ka Lokomaikai and Ka Ulu Lauhala O Kona.

Funding (cash)
National Endowment for the Arts, W. K. Kellogg Foundation, Institute of Museum and Library Services, National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution Women's Committee, Michigan State University All-University Research Initiation Grant, Michigan Council for the Arts and Cultural Affairs, Onaway Trust, Hawai`i State Foundation on Culture and the Arts, Fund for Folk Culture, Lila Wallace-Readers Digest Fund and John and Liz Schweitzer.

Funding (in-kind)
Ho`oulu Ke Ola O Na Pua, Michigan State University Museum, Hyatt Regency Kaua`I, Institute of American Indian Art Museum, Tohono Nokomis American Learning Center, and the Heard Museum.


Content for this website was directed by Dr. Marsha MacDowell, Michigan State University Museum. Contributors include Dr. C. Kurt Dewhurst, Michigan State University Museum; Dr. Marjorie Hunt, Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, Smithsonian Institution; Alan "RJ" Joseph, Moccasin Pathways Production; Minnie Wabanimkee; and the individual artists whose stories, images, and work is showcased.

The design of the site was developed by Joy Palmer, Alicia Sheill, and Dan Jacquint of MATRIX: The Center for Humane, Arts, Letters, and Social Sciences OnLine. Special thanks to Dean Rehberger, Dennis Boone, Francie Freese, Jeff Place, Arlene Reiniger, Augusta Lehman, Jilda Anthony, Laura Wong-Whitebear, Bernadine Phillips, Marjorie Hunt, and Diana Parker.

Planning and implementation of this site was made possible by grants from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, National Endowment for the Arts, and the W. K. Kellogg Foundation with in-kind support from Michigan State University Museum; Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, Smithsonian Institution; Northwest Native Basketmakers Association; National Museum of American Indian, Smithsonian Institution; and Moccasin Pathways Production.

Project History

In the late 1990s, Kurt Dewhurst and Marsha MacDowell of the Michigan State University Museum (MSUM) developed and circulated, in partnership with the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, the exhibition To Honor and Comfort: Native Quilting Traditions. A smaller version of the exhibition, solely produced by the MSU Museum, is still circulating to tribal museums and centers. Both exhibitions have been well received, particularly within Native communities.

Meanwhile, during the 1990s a number of Native basketmakers associations began forming with the goal of engaging more individuals in the acquisition of the skills and knowledge critical to the making of this traditional art as well as stimulating more public awareness of the value of this art. When suggestions were made by a number of individuals to apply the To Honor and Comfort exhibition development model to contemporary Native basket traditions, the MSUM convened a series of planning meetings of stakeholders (including many weavers and community-based users of the art) to ascertain interest in developing an exhibition. At the very first meeting, held at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, the assembled stakeholders enthusiastically endorsed the project, gave the project its name, and identified a roster of exhibit goals.

Planning meetings of different sets of stakeholders were subsequently held over a period of several years. In addition to weavers, participants in these meetings included curators of basketry exhibits at tribal museums; state and regional folk arts coordinators and other scholars who have conducted research on specific contemporary basket traditions; and directors and board members of the state, tribal, and regional basket organizations. The various discussions held at these various meetings have resulted in a clearly identified roster of issues critical to the preservation and revitalization of Native basket traditions and a working outline for the exhibition and festival. The consultation sessions have provided a working model that insure that the process and the products of the Carriers project will provide meaningful mechanisms for input and decision making by stakeholders.