In cooperation with the Williamson Museum of Northwestern State University, Cane River National Heritage Area, Inc. (CRNHA) has installed a new exhibit at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Grand Ecore Visitor Center. The exhibit explores the basket weaving traditions of the Coushatta Tribe of Elton and features a collection of baskets from the Williamson Museum.
Native American basket weaving has been a cultural staple for millennia. As one of the earliest known technological traditions, baskets were used for storage, gathering food, and transportation of goods. In Louisiana, early evidence of basketry can be found in the many earthen mounds which dot the state. These mounds were created through a process known as basket loading, a building technique which involves loading dirt and other materials into baskets and dumping them, one after the other, onto the pile.
Continuing this rich tradition of basket weaving are the Coushatta People of Elton. The tribe originally lived in the Tennessee and Alabama. As with many of the native peoples in the Southeast, the Coushatta eventually migrated to Louisiana due to a combination of pressures, including the arrival of Europeans as well as the governmental policies of the United States. The Coushatta brought with them their basket weaving techniques and unique styles. The earliest Coushatta baskets were woven from sedge grass, river cane, and other natural resources. Long-leaf pine straw began to become the weaving material of choice as other resources dwindled.
The Williamson Museum collection features a range of baskets from the collection of Dr. Ron R. Wilkinson of Dallas, Texas. A special thanks to Dr. Wilkinson, Dr. Hiram F. “Pete” Gregory, Director of the Williamson Museum located at Northwestern State University of Louisiana, and the Coushatta Tribe of Elton for allowing the display of this collection.
The exhibit is on display at the Grand Ecore Visitor Center from Sept. 28 – Nov. 27. For more information contact Steven Fullen at 318.356.5555 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cane River National Heritage Area, Inc. is a not-for-profit organization that manages the congressionally designated Cane River National Heritage Area. Its mission is to preserve and promote the cultural and natural resources of Cane River and encourage economic development by strengthening heritage tourism in the region.