Strawberry Basket
Strawberry Basket

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Collection Tier:
Tier 2

Native American - Woodland ➔ Strawberry Basket

Small, round ash splint strawberry basket with lid. Decorative wart-weave twists woven into a strawberry-shaped basket. Lid shaped like strawberry calyx fits partially inside the basket, with leaf-shaped splints extending out over the top rim of the lidded basket. In the center of lid is a handle consisting of a double loop of ash splint. Basket dyed red; lid dyed green. Some red color has transferred to the green lid.
Central to the collection is a group of baskets which were collected over 100 years ago by members of the Ritchie family, who lived on the east side of Gun Lake in a low-lying area with many Black Ash trees. The baskets were purchased by Gordon Olson in the late 1990s from members of the Ritchie family who acquired baskets from nearby members of the Match-e-be-nash-she-wish Band of Potawatomi Indians of Michigan. The Match-e-be-nash-she-wish band is a federally recognized tribe of Potawatomi people named for a 19th-century Ojibwa chief. They were formerly known as the Gun Lake Band of Grand River Ottawa Indians.
There are also Ojibwa baskets and associated material. Most were acquired between 1974 and 1979 when Gordon Olson was Assistant Director of the Grand Rapids Public Museum. Each year the museum would host an event known as “Pioneer Days,” which included members of the Saginaw Chippewa Tribal Nation from the Isabella Indian Reservation near Mount Pleasant. Quite often he purchased baskets the Mt. Pleasant group brought to sell to the museum’s gift shop. He was also given black ash splint baskets and other Ojibwa items. Other items in the collection were purchased from area antique and Native American craft stores.
1974 – 1979
Ash Splints, Dyes
4 1/2"" h 5 1/2"" w 5 1/8"" d
Current Location Status:
Education Program
Gift of Gordon L. Olson
Investigate: Native American Cultural Artifacts (September 2018)
During the Investigate program, students will take the role of Museum curators and use close observation and critical thinking to discover the origin, meaning, and importance of real objects from the Museum’s Collection. Students will learn how to handle and study primary sources and will be pushed to consider how singular objects or groups of objects can tell meaningful stories about our place.
Student Objectives:
  • Learners will be able to analyze primary sources (artifacts, specimens, and photographs) and make inferences about the story or significance of the sources.
  • Learners will be able to describe what these cultural objects can tell us about the lifestyle and values of the Native Americans who used them.

Curriculum Connections:

  • NGSS Science and Engineering Practices: Constructing Explanations; Engaging in Argument from Evidence
  • ELA Common Core Standards by Domain: Research to Build and Present Knowledge
  • Michigan K-12 Social Studies Standards: H1 The World in Temporal Terms: Historical Habits of Mind, H2 Living and Working Together in Families and Communities, Now and Long Ago, H3 The History of Michigan and the Great Lakes Region, G2 Places and Regions, G4 Human Systems, P1 Reading and Communication, P2 Inquiry Research and Analysis

Gordon L. Olson
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