Mescalero Apache Elementary School Basketry Project

Originally Published in 1995

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Mescalero Apache Burden Baskets

Burden Baskets were made long ago by our Apache people. They were used in many ways. These are some of the uses that I was told about. Straps were attached to them to make it easier to carry food which was gathered from the har­vest fields, foods such as apples, oranges, nuts (*ions, acorns, etc.), wild berries.

Some baskets were fixed with sap off of the pine trees to hold water for long journeys. The basket was very useful for our people long ago. There is sacred meaning in making a basket. Now in the 1990s the basket is used for ceremonial occasions. The basket we make was handed down to us in Indian way. By Indian way, I mean the gift of making a basket was handed down by an elderly person who in turn was given the gift by another elderly person.

Our mother Pauline Nata Kaydahzinne is known to be the only elderly person that still makes baskets. She is a Mescalero Apache. We as her daughters thank her very much for sharing her knowl­edge with us so that the art of bas­ket making is not lost. She was given the gift from her grand­mother, Helen Chatto.

Helen Chatto was one of the prisoners of war with Geronimo. We were fortunate to have known her. She was the root of our knowl­edge of basket making. We are glad to be sharing with you our knowledge of this art.

These are some of the things you should have before starting to make a basket: (1) interest; (2) willingness; (3) patience; (4) knowledge.


Unknown cultures
Famous cultures
Religious, unbelieved, spiritual cultures
Those are just a few
Historical cultures
Laboratory cultures
Navajo and Anasazi cultures
Civil cultures, too
Colorful cultures
Colorless cultures
Don’t forget endless cultures
Last of all best of all
I like my Apache culture”
—Nathaniel R. Forrest [White Mountain Apache]

Cite This Article

"Mescalero Apache Elementary School Basketry Project." Expedition Magazine 37, no. 1 (March, 1995): -. Accessed April 18, 2024.

This digitized article is presented here as a historical reference and may not reflect the current views of the Penn Museum.

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