Elizabeth Caldwell made this black ash basket an open weave base and plain weave walls. Bkejwanong Territory Walpole Island First Nation, Ontario, Canada. UMMAA 13993.

In April 2019, the University of Michigan Museum of Anthropological Archaeology and the Ziibiwing Center of Anishinabe Culture & Lifeways celebrated the opening of Wiidanokiindiwag (They Work With Each Other), an exhibit at the Ziibiwing Center in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, featuring more than fifty 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.

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 will post a photo and description of one basket from the exhibit.

Visit the exhibit—free and open to the public—through October 5, 2019. In June, the center is hosting a community black ash strawberry basket-building workshop with Josh Homminga and Sarah Bedell, traditional basketmakers from the Bay Mills Indian Community. The event is also free and open to the public. See below for more details.

A view of the inside of the basket.

A view of the basket's open weave base.