Basketweaver’s Gathering to honor 10,000 years of Lake Tahoe tradition
TAHOE CITY, Calif. — People have lived in the Tahoe City area continuously for more than 10,000 years, beginning with the Washoe people.
Indigenous basketweavers from California and Nevada will gather at the Gatekeeper’s Museum in Tahoe City Aug. 17-18 to celebrate at the 10th Annual Basketweavers’ Gathering.
The Gathering will feature American Indian weavers demonstrating basketweaving, along with dancers, jewelry makers, bow and arrow makers and other traditional arts demonstrations.
Baskets were once critical survival implements and sacred tools of worship found in virtually all North American native cultures. Today, the creation of these functional and/or ceremonial containers is a highly stylized art, kept alive by dedicated artists passed along to successive generations.
The Gatekeeper’s Museum sits on grounds where, until the 20th century, Washoe people spent their summertime months. The Gatekeeper’s Museum is also home to the Marion Steinbach Indian Basket Collection, a world-class exhibit of 900 baskets from more than 80 tribes throughout California and western North America, including the Washoe people.
In addition, the museum features the Bogart Washoe Basket Collection of exclusively Washoe baskets.
“The Basketweavers’ Gathering presents a rare occasion to gather together with master weavers and artisans from multiple tribes,” said museum executive director Marguerite Sprague. “It’s an important opportunity to listen and learn about indigenous American history and culture.”
In honor of 10,000 years of human tradition at Lake Tahoe and the 10th year of the event, there will be Washoe elders present at lunchtime, telling stories handed down through generations. The Eagle Wing Dance Group and the Pyramid Lake High School dancers, two all-Native American dance groups, will perform traditional dances. Visitors can also enjoy “From Nuts to Soup,” a demonstration of preparing raw acorns to soup using traditional, millennia-old methods.
9 a.m.: Michelle Dressler demonstrating pine needle basketmaking
10 a.m.: Eagle Wing Dance Group (Washoe, Paiute and Shoshone dancers ages 4 to 20)
11 a.m.: “From Nuts to Soup” acorn processing demonstration
Noon: Washoe Elder Stories with Melba Rakow and Steven James
1 p.m.: Shoshone basketweaving demonstration by Darlene Murphy
2 p.m.: Bow and arrow making demonstration by Michael O’Daye
3 p.m.: Pyramid Lake High School Dancers
Basketweavers will show and sell Native American arts and crafts. Basket appraiser John Rauzy will also be on site and, for a small donation to the museum, will appraise the value of American Indian baskets brought in by visitors.
A donation of $5 or more for non-members is suggested for the event and includes admission to the museum. Children ages 12 and under are free with an adult. North Lake Tahoe Historical Society members are free.
The North Lake Tahoe Historical Society operates two museums in Tahoe City: Watson Cabin Museum and the Gatekeeper’s Museum. Their mission is to preserve and present Lake Tahoe history both regionally and in the larger context of the American West. For more information visit northtahoemuseums.org or call 530-583-1762.
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