Forum emphasizes challenges for basketmakers

The Revitalization of Traditional Cherokee Artisan Resources is presenting a symposium Nov. 12-14, called “Gathering Places: Traditional Basketmaking and the Environment.”

Gathering Places seeks to bring together basketmakers from diverse tribal and traditional origins to discuss ways of maintaining access to the native materials used in basketry through ecological restoration, propagation of plants, access through public and private lands, education, tree improvement, sustainable harvesting, etc.

Conversations between RTCAR and Joyce V. Coakley, a sweetgrass basketweaver from South Carolina’s low country, about the shortages facing both communities led to the idea of a having a national conference to share strategies.

An important element of the continuation of tradition is teaching the next generation of artisans. A panel discussion of success stories including the basketry class at Cherokee High School will be offered.

The conference will be held at the Great Smokies Conference Center in Cherokee and participants must register ahead of time. More information and registration forms are on the RTCAR website at www.rtcar.org. For more information call RTCAR at 828.554.6925.

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