This box and lid, made from birch bark and dyed and natural porcupine quills, is part of a set of baskets made by Cynthia Norton, John Chippewa, Mary Ann Mixamony, and Philomene Odlimin. Odawa. Cross Village, Emmett County, Michigan. 1938. UMMAA 21625a.
The University of Michigan Museum of Anthropological Archaeology curates many ethnobotanical and ethnographic objects, including baskets. Many of the baskets can be seen here, in an online catalog created by students in an anthropology course taught by Lisa C. Young.
Occasionally, some of UMMAA’s baskets are on display in a public exhibit. In 2019, UMMAA and the Ziibiwing Center of Anishinabe Culture & Lifeways, in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, collaborated on an exhibit called Wiidanokiindiwag (They Work With Each Other). The exhibit featured more than 50 Anishinaabek baskets, canoe models, rattles, photographs, and other items from the Great Lakes Region. 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 and UMMAA, 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.