NEW ORLEANS (press release) – Baskets made by Native American weavers, including those woven by Choctaw and Chitimacha women in the Gulf South, were aggressively sought by collectors of arts and crafts a century ago. And it just so happens that a circle of white women in New Orleans played an instrumental role in promoting their regional production and nationwide circulation. Why did Crescent City ladies take such interest in Native American material culture? How did they encourage American Indian women to continue the tradition of basketry? How was that tradition depicted in fiction and other literature written by New Orleans women? What did Native women weaving the baskets hope to attain in their relationship with Non-Native promoters and advocates of their art? Usner’s talk will address these questions with evidence drawn from a variety of sources, explaining along the way the consequential role that Choctaw and Chitimacha basket makers played in their communities’ struggles for survival and sovereignty.
WHEN: Wednesday, Oct. 13, at 6 p.m.
WHERE: In-Person at Gallier House, 1132 Royal St.
About the Speaker:
Daniel Usner, born and raised in New Orleans, is the Holland N. McTyeire Professor of History at Vanderbilt University. His books include Indians, Settlers, and Slaves in a Frontier Exchange Economy: The Lower Mississippi Valley before 1783 (University of North Carolina Press, 1992), Weaving Alliances with Other Women: Chitimacha Indian Work in the New South (University of Georgia Press), and American Indians in Early New Orleans: From Calumet to Raquette (Louisiana State University). He is now completing a book manuscript entitled “The Arts of Survival: How Basket Diplomacy Saved a Louisiana Indian Nation.”