Monday, January 18, 2010
She learned the traditional art of black ash basket making from her grandmother, Swansee Augusta, and her mother Sarah Augusta who sold the handmade baskets. Julia made three to four baskets a week, she preferred to make the more traditional black ash baskets, like sewing baskets with lids or the market basket with strong handles. she also crocheted, quilted, and made traditional bead work.
She passed her skills of the arts to her granddaughters Tammy and Loretta Wesaw and great granddaughter Ginny.
Black ash basket making started to decline in popularity in the 1950's but was revived in the mid 1970's by Philip Alexis, who knew how to find the black ash tree and the Pokagon's have been making baskets ever since.
Since then many of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi members have been teaching how to make the black ash basket as was done during the tribes early existence.
Photographs by Al Kamuzda, Michigan Heritage Awards.
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