Photos Courtesy Ramona Rae
2017 Social Innovation Award
Weaving the traditions and culture from the past to present is the work of the Northwest Native American Basketry Association (NNABA), as we follow our mission to preserve, promote, and perpetuate the traditional art of our Pacific Northwest Native American basketry.
Traditional basket weavers from Native American tribes in the Pacific Northwest organized the first Annual Gathering of Basket Weavers in 1995. Since then, the Association has worked to increase the respect showed this important cultural art form by providing opportunities for weavers to study basketry and showcase their work in a healthy social, cultural, spiritual, and economic environment for native basketry.
For the past 22 years NNABA’s efforts have brought more recognition, respect, and interest to this beautiful form of art through organizing an Annual Gathering of basket weavers honoring Master Native American Basket Weavers to lead our weavers teaching weavers program to 700 members residing in WA, OR, ID, MT, and BC representing 50 tribes.
The Annual Gathering moves to a different tribal location each year in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. Moving the Gathering allows members of all tribes to participate without incurring prohibitive travel expenses. It also allows us to showcase local weaving specialties and honor the finest local weavers.
As our family of member weavers grows and ages, we recognized the need to educate our youth by not only emphasizing youth involvement through learning basketry in our Youth Track program which has grown significantly to approximately 200 but by teaching. We have added an important element to our programs to perpetuate our art and our organizational goals with the introduction of our Youth Instructors Teaching Elders program. This program is created to give our youth weavers an opportunity to become not only future master weavers but qualified teachers to ensure the art techniques, practices and concerns of basketry are shared; while at the same time learning from their student our valued and honored elders.