Continuing Textile Traditions: Basketry in the North American Southwest, from Prehistory to Now

February 17, 2024

Basket weaving is among the oldest and most widespread crafts on earth, and the traditions in the Southwestern United States and Northern Mexico are both well studied and thriving. During this discussion, our distinguished speakers shared their unique perspectives on baskets, with topics ranging from the ancient, historic and contemporary cultural contexts from which they stem, efforts to make study and interpretation more culturally inclusive, and the experience and artistry of one contemporary basket maker.


Diane D. Dittemore is an associate curator of ethnology at the Arizona State Museum, where she has worked for more than forty years. She was lead curator for the 2017 permanent exhibit Woven through Time: Native Treasures of Basketry and Fiber Arts.  Diane is the author of Woven from the Center: Native Basketry in the Southwest, which was published in January 2024 by the University of Arizona Press.

Edward A. Jolie, Ph.D., RPA, is an anthropologist with broad interests in the Indigenous archaeology and ethnology of the Americas. His research focuses on the study of perishable (organic) material culture (e.g., string, footwear, baskets, and textiles). Beyond perishable technologies, Dr. Jolie has long held an interest in Native American-Anthropologist relations, repatriation matters, and broader ethical practice within anthropology. Being of mixed Oglala Lakota and Hodulgee Muscogee (Creek) ancestry, and an enrolled citizen of the Muscogee Nation of Oklahoma, he strives to cultivate collaborative relationships and research partnerships with Native Americans and other descendant communities. For more on Dr. Jolie’s work, see this recent feature from the University of Arizona.

August Wood is Navajo, Tohono O’Odham, & Akimel O’Odham and an enrolled member of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community. August began learning how to weave the traditional O’Odham form of coil basketry in 2009 from his teacher Sally Antone of the Ak Chin Indian Community. She helped show August how to pick and process the local natural materials that were traditionally harvested by the O’Odham to create functional baskets.

Watch the Recording:

Please share this page on: