kaayd hllngaay skaayxan (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.


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

Walls and lid, 2 ply z-twist. 3 crossed warp bands: a variation in plain twined weave where weaving passes across between points where warps intersect. Rim of basket and lid is 3 ply twining.

Physical description

Basket base (a) and lid (b) woven from spruce root, circular as viewed from top. The base has warps radiating from the centre. Walls are decorated with a band of open weave, one row of light red in centre bordered by one row of light red on top and two rows of light green on the bottom. Below, as viewed from the inside, is a band consisting of thirteen parallelogram-like shapes in light red, light green, blue and light brown. The rim is reinforced with light green and two light brown wefts with the warps cut off. The lid has warps radiating from a centre point. Decorated with two bands of open weave: the first band has wefts in light red, and the second band has wefts in light red and light green. On the wall of the lid are two bands of dyed strands: light red alternating with natural spruce root, and light red alternating with light green. The lid rim is reinforced in the same manner as the body.