Basket, Burden with hide dangles and metal cones.
Traditional style from San Carlos Apache tribe by
Mary Jane Dudley.

13" deep x 14" wide at top.
3 3/4" wide at base.
25" long hide


For years a "burden basket" was just used for carrying
things like food and wood. With the basket slung on
the wearer's back and secured by a strap across
the forehead, and hide strips bearing metal jingles,
managing a a burden was both easier and protected
from critters. Such baskets were functional,
but often were decorated as works of art, perhaps
to "lighten" the load. Their individual touches and
accents enhanced their attractiveness to collectors
both within and outside tribal cultures.

Apache burden basket weaving faded in popularity
during the during the Great Depression, when affordable commercial containers became easier to acquire and
Apache children were removed from opportunities to
learn basketweaving techniques.

In recent years, Native American basketweaving has
had a re-surgence. Mary Jane Dudley of the San Carlos
Apache band has benefitted from the market for
work by excellent artisans.

Burden baskets also play a major role in Apache culture.
They are worn ceremonially by young girls passing into
womanhood. A great amount of time, skill and patience
goes into the process of harvesting cottonwood branches,
and collecting willow strips and devil's claw to weave into
the design. All these components must be "cured"
to become pliable enough to weave.

Mary Jane Dudley created her first basket at the tender
age of 13 under the tutelage of her mother, Evelyn Henry,
who in turn had learned from Mary Jane's grandmother,
Cecilia Henry.

This time-consuming and painstaking process is thus handed down through generations. It is deeply woven into San Carlos Apache culture. For the artist, no price is great enough to
fully compensate for the time and tradition that goes into a basket.

Fortunately, it is also a labor of love.



to the Native
American Gallery




Fort Myers , FL. 33908
239-482-7025 ~ 800-305-0185