Accepted Paper:

Private collections, private collectors and coil basketry from the Fraser Valley  


Andrea Laforet (Carleton University)

Paper short abstract:

Between 1860 and 1930 settler women in the Fraser Valley developed private collections of coil basketry. This paper explores the relationship between basket makers and collectors and the contribution of the collections to the history of Fraser Valley coil basketry.

Paper long abstract:

The Fraser Valley of British Columbia, the traditional territory of the Sto:lo peoples, was settled rapidly by people of European ancestry between 1858 and the early 1900s. Although there are substantial institutional collections of cedar root coil basketry made by the Lil'wat, Tsleil-Waututh, Stl'atl'imx and Nlaka'pamux, neighbours of the Sto:lo who speak related languages, there are very few institutional collections of coil basketry from the Fraser Valley, even though, and perhaps because, the stylistic of coil basketry in this region was fairly dynamic at the time. There are, however, private collections developed by non-Aboriginal settler women through patron relationships with First Nations basket makers who lived in or visited the Fraser Valley. Certain of these private collections have been acquired by museums, usually local museums, either on the death of the collector or following the death of a daughter or other family member who inherited the collection. The private collections that can be documented as to time and place are now vital to an understanding of the history of coil basketry in that region and in that time period.

Panel WIM-CHAT08
The enthusiastic amateur and cultures of collecting, or why settlers and their descendants take to unearthing First Nations artefacts