Explore some of the challenges faced by indigenous artists from the impact of climate change and urbanization on the availability of natural materials. Learn how indigenous artists have adapted their materials and techniques to an ever-changing environment.
Black Ash Basket Makers & the Emerald Ash Borer Threat Webinar Audio with Kelly Church and Cherish Parrish (Complete Audio)
Kelly Church is an enrolled member of her grandmother’s tribe, the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa Chippewa Indians from Michigan.
Church is a black ash basket maker, Woodlands style painter, birchbark biter, and educator. She studies and teaches the stories of the oral traditions of the past and her native Algonquin language to help preserve and pass on the stories and language to today’s youth before it is too late.
One of her primary motivations is maintaining the basketmaking tradition within the culture and advocating for the survival of the black ash tree which is being decimated by an invasive insect, the emerald ash borer. These issues are critically important for people whose cultural survival depends on passing traditions on to the next generations, whether through language, ceremonies, or practices like basketry.
The Heard Museum Guild is proud to present the artwork of Kelly Church as part of the 2021 Virtual Indian Fair & Market.
Cherish Parrish (Match-e-be-nash-she-wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians--formerly Gun Lake Band of Potawatomi Indians)
Cherish Parrish is a sixth-generation black ash basket weaver and creates birch bark bitings with her eyetooth on pliable bark that she harvests from local birch trees. Both basket weaving and birch bark biting are traditional art forms practiced among the Anishnabe of Michigan. Parrish harvests her own trees in the swampy areas of Michigan and processes logs into weaving materials with only the aid of her family, an axe, a knife, and scissors. Preparing her materials is at least 75% of the work.
An invasive species, the Emerald Ash Borer, was introduced to Michigan in the past decade has devastated the black ash trees. To help sustain the future of black ash basket making, she has been collecting black ash seeds and storing them for future plantings in hopes that this art form never dies out. Parrish will continue to work with birch bark and sweetgrass, making baskets and doing bitings, until one day she is able to replant her ash seeds and harvest black ash for baskets with the future generations.
Zefren Anderson (Diné/Navajo)
Ephraim “Zefren-M” Anderson is an award-winning Diné/Navajo weaver and silversmith. from the Four Corners Region of the Navajo Nation. Both of his grandmothers hail from the weaving traditions of the Dine ancestors: Two Grey Hills Mary Hunt, Rattlesnake Charlotte and her mother Elizabeth Tsosie Light.
The tools and weavings he inherited from his family formed the foundation of his journey into Dine textiles. In 2014, Zefren began an apprenticeship with master weaver, Roy Kady. In 2019, he won the Best of Show Award at the Heard.
Zefren’s mission is to blend history, stories, and archaeology to create modern art, so that ancient arts do not fade away.
The Heard Museum Guild is proud to present the artwork of Zefren Anderson as part of the 2021 Virtual Indian Fair & Market.