This simple yet beautiful bag fashioned by a traditional Klamath weaver has a banded design made of native materials. The bag dates back to the 1950s and was acquired at an estate sale in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Since the handles of the bag have split through years of usage, this tribal item should be used for decorative purposes only, though careful restoration could easily restore the bag. The remainder of the bag remains in good vintage condition.
The Klamath and Modoc tribes combined and blended after being confined to a reservation in south central Oregon in the late 19th century. By the mid-20th century, the U.S. government’s “termination policy” to cut off federal assistance severely affected the remnants of this tribe.
In terms of their basket-making technique, Klamath weavers often buried different grasses in mud to obtain the varying degrees of dark colors that were desired for the final product. In the case of this basketry bag, a combination of diverse naturally colored grasses as well as those buried for varying periods of time in mud were used to add to the bag’s color scheme and design.
This Klamath basketry bag would make an excellent addition to any collection of Native American artifacts. Or, consider it as a gift for a friend who may be such a collector.