1980.78.34 | Basket
1880-1920, 19th century or 20th century
9 x 18 cm
Gift of M. Gaby Pelletier
This artefact belongs to: © New Brunswick Museum
Keys to History
Traditionally, baskets and other types of containers were of great importance to Mi'kmaq, who lived by hunting, fishing, and gathering plants and berries.
The beautifully detailed baskets and other craftwork produced by Mi'kmaq were very popular in both Canadian and European markets during much of the 19th century. Unfortunately, by the early 20th century, the demand for Mi'kmaq craftwork had declined.
Similar to other Mi'kmaq crafts, this handkerchief basket is made of dyed and woven ash splints with sweetgrass.
Mi'kmaq territory extended from the Gaspé Peninsula, along the Gulf of St. Lawrence, to present day Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia.
Mi'kmaq still produce baskets and quill boxes, but the natural dyes they formerly used have been replaced by chemical dyes, and the early geometric designs have given way to floral patterns.
Men, women and children all participated in the making of handicrafts.