Twining Cedar: Annette Island Tsimshian Basket Weaving

This project was made possible through generous support from:

The CIRI Foundation, Smithsonian Council for Arctic Studies, Metlakatla Indian Community, Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska, Sealaska Heritage Institute, Alaska State Council on the Arts and Anchorage Museum.

A set of fifteen instructional videos and bilingual guide from The Haayk Foundation and Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center. 

Red cedar bark twined basketry is a hallmark of Tsimshian culture, and although once nearly lost as elderly masters of the art passed on, it is today enjoying a revival as a younger generation seeks to master its complexities and reconnect with a proud heritage. In 2016, the Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center accepted a request from The Haayk Foundation of to co-develop a program that would document the materials and techniques of cedar basketry and support cultural and linguistic learning in their community.

The resulting Twining Cedar videos provide over four hours of comprehensive instruction and cultural context on how to prepare materials and weave Annette Island-style twined cedarbark baskets. Led by master weaver Delores Churchill and her daughter, Holly Churchill, the videos feature Tsimshian weavers Kandi McGilton (Co-founder of The Haayk Foundation), Annette Topham (daughter of master carver Jack Hudson and granddaughter of master Tsimshian weaver Lillian Buchert) and Karla Booth (granddaughter of master Tsimshian weaver Violet Booth).

An accompanying 51-page bilingual guide is based on extensive work by Kandi McGilton with Metlakatla elder Sarah Booth, a fluent speaker of Sm’algyax, the Tsimshian language. Its resources include vocabulary, instructional sentences and a pronunciation guide.

Hasag̱m dm t’oyaxsa na suwilaaymsgm G̱oodm Nluułgm Xsgiik a na amagyet ada g̱a̱sg̱aaw k’yinam da k’am. Akadi da’axłga dm hałelsa a gwa̱’a̱ dzida nah ‘waht łimoomi.

We’d like to thank our teacher, Sarah Booth, for her kindness and generosity. This work would not be possible without her help.

Sm'algya̱x Learning Materials

To view all the "Twining Cedar" instructional videos and download a digital (PDF) version of the Bilingual Guide, CLICK HERE.