Week 6: Berry basket

Does the decorative pattern on this basket give you any clues about what it was used for?

What could be the purpose for the leather loops on top?

Berry basket

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Answers:

Does the decorative pattern on this basket give you any clues about what it was used for?

This basket was used to hold berries while picking. Doesn't it look kind of like a strawberry? It stands about a foot tall, and is made of very tightly coiled cedar root. The "seed" pattern was achieved by using beargrass for the light spots and cherry bark for the dark spots.

What could be the purpose for the leather loops on top?

After the berry baskets were full they had to be kept safe for storage, so they were covered by threading fern fronds through the leather loops on top. They would then often be stored under a tree for extra protection from the rain. Typically, baskets like this also might have had a large strap, or tumpline, allowing it to be carried comfortably at your side.


This basket was made in the late 1800s by the Swinomish Tribe, who live around the southeastern part of Fidalgo Island in northern Puget Sound. Today the Swinomish Tribe is still very active in the local economy and environmental issues.