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Indigenizing Southern California Indian Basket Studies

Yve Chavez. "Indigenizing Southern California Indian Basket Studies: Unpacking Issues of "Mission" and "Tradition"." MA Thesis, University of Washington, 2012.
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This thesis provides a much needed examination of early and contemporary basket weaving practices in Southern California from an indigenous perspective and through an art historical lens. It deconstructs outdated misconceptions about aboriginal basket weaving practices and cultural identity in Southern California. In 1922 Alfred Kroeber wrote the first anthropological account of "Mission" Indian baskets. Kroeber used the word "Mission" to describe a specific style of basket weaving attributed to certain indigenous communities based in Southern California. This thesis explains why the term "Mission" is problematic when used to categorize baskets. I argue it is best that museums and collectors identify a basket by the name of the weaver who made it and his or her tribe. Some scholars have tried to argue that traditional indigenous arts only existed in the past, but this thesis proves that tradition changes as a result of outside (native and non-native) influences and new ideas.

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