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Making Baskets, Reclaiming Traditional Knowledge With Our Hands

Published January 9th, 2019


Waypanachena nekeech Atchwechteed,
(Good morning my relatives)

Basket making has been a tradition for hundreds if not thousands of years in my tribe and my family. Since 1736 and the establishment of our Reservation, this became way more than just a tradition. Making baskets became a way of survival. As many know, as happens with so many Nations across Turtle Island, we couldn’t get jobs off rez, cut off from our farming, fishing and hunting grounds. Making baskets became a way for us to feed our people. My grandfathers, grandmothers, aunts and uncles would make these baskets and walk many miles selling and mending their baskets. In return they would collect food scraps and bring these back to the Reservation.

Now I’ve gotten to see so many of these beautiful baskets in museums and Historical collections across the country. But since the burning of our houses and forced removal from our reservation, this is a tradition that has been all but lost.

This is one of the many important teachings we will be bringing back with our Cultural Center. I’ve added a picture of my Great Grandfather Jim Pan Harris on the Schaghticoke Rez making one of his baskets using Black Ash the same way that we made ours over this weekend.

I want to give a big thank you to our friends at Wild Earth, Paul Tobin, Stefanie Geisel, Simon Abramson, David Brownstein and more who see how important it is to keep these traditions alive for our future Generations.

We also want to give a big thank you to our friend Andy Paonessa at for all his hard work keeping traditional knowledge alive and well.

(I am grateful)
Sachem HawkStorm

PS: Learn more about Sachem HawkStorm and the Schaghticoke First Nations at

Sachem HawkStormSachem HawkStormSachem HawkStorm, Chief of the Schaghticoke First Nations

Sachem HawkStorm is the chief of the Schaghticoke First Nations and a direct descendant of the great Wampanoag Chief Wasanegin Massasoit. Schaghticoke First Nations is one of three nations of the Schaghticoke Tribe, with 370 members, and also a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization. The word “Schaghticoke” means “the Mingling of Waters,” and signifies the merging of what remained of the Algonquin Nations in the Eastern Woodlands in 1676. Like so many of his people, Sachem HawkStorm was taken from his parents and raised in a family unfamiliar with his heritage. Emancipated at 15, his life’s journey has been one of reclamation, re-indigenization, and reconnection to the land. Sachem HawkStorm is in the formative stages trying to purchase back a piece of their vast ancestral lands for a Conservation and Cultural Center in the Hudson Valley. He works in close partnership with the United Confederation of Taino People, the Ramapough Lenape Tribal Nation, and the Golden Hill Paugussett Tribe to strengthen unity amongst North Eastern Native Peoples. Sachem HawkStorm has played an active role in the implementation of the United Nations Rights Of Indigenous Peoples since 2012 and most recently has become affiliated with the International Indian Treaty Council. More about Sachem's work.

2 thoughts on “Making Baskets, Reclaiming Traditional Knowledge With Our Hands”

  1. David Brownstein says:

    This makes my and Wild Earth’s collective heart SING!

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