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Phishing Basket

Shan Goshorn

2014

10.5” X 9” X 21.5”

Arches watercolor paper splints printed with archival inks, acrylic paint.

This basket is inspired by the shape and function of a traditional Cherokee fishing basket. Historically these baskets were woven with a wide weave to allow for easy drainage and lined with moss to keep fish cool until ready for cooking.

The image features an 1867 image by Alexander Gardner of Indian delegates on the steps of the White House in Washington DC, photographed with President Andrew Johnson. The title is a play on the computer term “phishing”, which is defined as deliberate misrepresentation for financial gain. I have woven this basket with reproductions of nine separate treaties (specifically Navajo, California, Ft Wayne, Canandaigua, Horse Creek, Medicine Lodge, Medicine Creek, Muscogee and Potawatomi Treaties), agreements the US Government negotiated with nine diverse tribes making promises that were not upheld- sometimes being broken even as the documents were being signed. The majority of treaties resulted in land loss for native people, so I included a map on the interior of the basket illustrating the decline of Cherokee land.