Sep 15, 2018

By Amber Gero

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(Brenda Crabtree,- Photo Courtesy of THE CANADIAN PRESS)

The basket-making skills and artistry of the B-C Interior’s Nlaka’pamux Nation is being recognized as a tradition of national historic significance.

Brenda Crabtree, a well-known basket artist, says the baskets are coveted pieces of art that also serve a purpose.

“People think ‘well how can you cook with a cedar-root basket?’.  Well you just fill them with water and they swell and so they hold the water.  And then they would put very hot, white-hot, rocks from the fire, in the cedar root basket, put the lid on and it would just steam the food.” said Crabtree.

Crabtree, who is the Aboriginal program director at Vancouver’s Emily Carr University of Art and Design, says she’s carried on the basket-making tradition, weaving Indigenous political themes into her works.

Earlier this month, the federal government unveiled a ceremonial plaque in the Fraser Canyon community of Lytton to honour the significance of the baskets and basket makers.


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