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Collection Tier:
Tier 2

Native American - Woodland ➔ Large Basket

Very large ash splint basket with lid. Square base, round rim. Basket circumference gradually widens from base upward, then tapers significantly beginning four inches from rim. Two courses of curled ash splints form decorative rows, at roughly ⅓ and ⅔ of the way up from bottom of basket. Ash splint lid is shaped like an acorn cupule. Donor states that significant repairs were made to this basket by Mrs. Gladys Sands.

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
29"" h 18" " w 18"" d
Gift of Gordon L. Olson
Gordon L. Olson
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