About this object

History of use

Basketry filled a vital need as containers for storage domestic use and transportation of goods. Some had multiple uses; others were made for specific functions. After European contact, used for trade and sale items. Forms have been altered to meet European tastes. Basketry making was and is a women's art.


Fort Nass was built at the mouth of the Nass River 1831. It was soon renamed Fort Simpson after Captain Aemilius Simpson who chose the site and died four months after its establishment. In 1834 the fort was moved and reestablished at the Tsimshian summer village of Lax Kw’alaams, twenty miles north of Prince Rupert. This is an ancient camping spot of the Gispaxlo'ots tribe. By 1857, 2300 natives lived at the site, primarily Tsimshian members of the nine tribes: Gispaxloats, Gitnaxangiik, Gitsiis, Gitnadoiks, Gitandoh, Gilutzau, Gitwilgiots, Gitzaxlaal and Gitlan. The first HBC factor at the new Fort Simpson was Dr. John Frederick Kennedy, who married the daughter of the Gispaxloats Chief Legaic as part of the diplomacy which established the fort on Gispaxlo'ots territory. Kennedy served at Fort Simpson until 1856.
In 1880 the community was renamed Port Simpson. The Tsimshian community refers to the community as Lax Kw’alaams.
The Tsimshian band council of Port Simpson requested in 1985 that its community name be changed to Lax Kw'alaams. Meaning "place of wild roses" in Tsimshian. The change was officially made in July 1986, based on agreement by the names committee members for British Columbia and the federal Department of Indian and Northern Affairs. Canada Post also renamed its post office.

Cultural context

domestic storage; cooking; transport

Specific techniques

Base is made by 2 ply z-twist twining; corner of base and side is 3 ply s-twist. Two rows of 2 ply-twist twining; 5 rows of 3 ply twill twining. Top part is 2 ply z-twist twining; warp ends bent down and fastened by a row 2 ply twining to form rim.

Physical description

Small cylindrical basket. Base made of twined yellow-brown with an outermost row in red-brown. One row at the transition from the base to the side is decorated with three ply twining alternating with two red-brown wefts and one yellow-brown weft. Sides are decorated with five rows of alternating two red-brown and light brown wefts and on yellow-brown weft. Rim has cedar warp ends folded over to the outside and secured with a single row of yellow-brown twining.