An Anishinaabek artisan made this envelope box of birch bark, sweetgrass, porcupine quills, and thread. Bemidji, Minnesota. 1930–1966. UMMAA 25611.
From April to October 2019, the University of Michigan Museum of Anthropological Archaeology and the Ziibiwing Center of Anishinabe Culture & Lifeways collaborated on an exhibit called Wiidanokiindiwag (They Work With Each Other). The Ziibiwing Center in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, hosted the exhibit, which featured more than 50 Anishinaabek baskets, canoe models, rattles, photographs, and other items from the Great Lakes Region. Some of the pieces are more than 100 years old; others are contemporary works.
The exhibition’s title, Wiidanokiindiwag (They Work With Each Other), has two meanings: the first refers to the Anishinaabek basketmakers, who worked with each other and with native materials, including black ash, sweetgrass, elm and birch bark, and porcupine quills. The second meaning refers to the collaboration of the people of the Ziibiwing Center of Anishinabe Culture & Lifeways and the University of Michigan Museum of Anthropological Archaeology, who worked together to bring about this exhibition. The collaboration between the groups began many years ago, with efforts to implement the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA). Since then, hundreds of Anishinaabek ancestors and their burial belongings have been returned to the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan and many other Great Lakes Tribes.
The exhibit is closed, but in order to honor these works of art, the basketmakers, and the people who collaborated on the exhibit, the Museum has created an online post called Baskets at Ziibiwing: each week, we post a photo and description of one basket from the exhibit.