Spirit Wrestler Gallery (Vancouver, Canada)

Attu Basket

by


Sharon Kay

Aleut (Unga)

Unga Island, Alaska, USA

(1949- )

“There are three known variations of Unangax basketry: Attuan, Atkan and Unalaskan. Attu baskets were the finest woven. Rye grass was the main material used in making baskets; other material used in making baskets: baleen, sinew, feathers, gut, strips of sea lion esophagus, dyes from plants and minerals, caribou hair, birch bark and sea mammal fur. Various conditions attributed to the use of raffia being used, beginning in the 1800s, they include: introduction of sheep on some islands, imposition on the Unangax by the Russians, and timeliness for collectors; it took two to three months to prepare rye grass for weaving after gathering it, and considerably less time to prepare raffia.”