14” X 13” X 13”
Arches watercolor paper splints printed with archival inks, acrylic paint
This single-weave basket features a historical photograph entitled Female Students Ironing in Laundry (collection Smithsonian Institution; National Anthropological Archives). Featured in the image are girls from various tribes, standing behind ironing boards and laundry baskets where they are learning a “trade” at the Sherman Riverside Indian Boarding School, CA. Even though this school specialized in agricultural and domestic sciences, it followed the model of the Carlisle Indian Boarding School in PA where the school philosophy was summed up by the phrase “Kill The Indian, Save The Man”. It was the goal of these institutions to eliminate all native culture and assimilate these children into white society. Unfortunately, this assimilation plan did not include equal status in the dominant white culture, but rather to create support staff in labor-intensive occupations.
All the woven text is reproduced from the 10-12,000 names of students who attended the Carlisle School; on the exterior, the names fade completely into white but on the interior, the splints are washed in vibrant red. Despite the efforts to annihilate an entire population, Indian people tried to protect what was inherently inside of them.