n'oo'o (Basket)

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.

Narrative

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

Birch bark was cut to size, steamed, folded and sewn at corners. Wood rim is lashed with spruce root, outside scraped to decorate.

Physical description

Oblong, brown birch bark basket with an oval-shaped top and a rectangular bottom. Bark is bent and laced into place, with a twig splint around the rim overcast with thin strips of root; decorative bands of dark crabapple bark (?) beading are featured along the rim in several spots. Geometric and linear patterns are scratched onto the exterior sides, revealing a lighter shade of bark.