California Indian Basketweavers Association

June 4th 2017 – Visit the CIBA Website Here

JUNE 23-25, 2017



Basket weaving is the most prolific and best known traditional Indian art in California. Starting in the late 19th century and continuing throughout the 20th century, collectors sought baskets woven by California Indians. Prices for particularly fine or large baskets soared to the thousands of dollars.

Meanwhile, in the daily lives of California Indians, baskets had been replaced by metal and plastic tools, and by the late 1980s the art of weaving appeared to be at risk of dying out. “There were tribes that no longer had practicing basketweavers, and many others that only had one or two, or a small handful,” said Sara Greensfelder, one of the original founders of the California Indian Basketweavers Association. Few younger weavers were learning to weave, and the mostly older women who continued to weave were finding it increasingly difficult to carry on their work. The demands of family life and the struggle to make a living, together with the destruction of plant habitats, pesticide contamination of gathering areas, and difficulty of obtaining access to gathering sites, were reducing the time and opportunity for plant tending, gathering, and basket weaving.

Following a statewide gathering of weavers, museums, public land agencies, ethno botanists, and funders, a council formed in 1991 with the goal of supporting weavers and addressing the problems of access to materials. The following year this council formed the nonprofit California Indian Basketweavers Association (CIBA). Based in Woodland, CIBA’s goal is to preserve, promote, and perpetuate California Indian basket weaving traditions while providing a healthy physical, social, spiritual, and economic environment for basketweavers.

Membership is open to weavers and non weavers alike, as well as to non-Indian supporters of California Indian basket weaving. The organization publishes a quarterly newsletter and sponsors an annual Gathering where weavers demonstrate and sell their work, share techniques and stories, buy materials, and generally support each other. With each gathering, the network of weavers and their supporters grows, enabling the continuation of the art and its passage to the next generation.

CIBA also works with local, state, and federal agencies and lawmakers to increase access to gathering areas, reintroduce traditional resources to particular sites, limit the use of harmful pesticides, and raise awareness for weavers and Native California cultures. Since the formation of CIBA the number of California Indian basket weavers has substantially increased, including the number of basket weavers earning income from selling baskets, teaching, or demonstrating their art. In part due to CIBA’s efforts, California basketry traditions are on a more secure footing and will continue into the foreseeable future.

Read CIBA’s Vision Statement


The Purpose of the California Indian Basketweavers Association is to preserve, promote and perpetuate California Indian basketweaving traditions. ClBA accomplishes this in the following ways:

  • By promoting and providing opportunities for California Indian Basketweavers to pursue the study of traditional basketry techniques and forms, and to showcase their work.
  • By establishing rapport and working with public agencies and other groups in order to provide a healthy physical, social, cultural, spiritual and economic environment for the practice of California Indian basketry.
  • By increasing California Indian access to traditional cultural resources on public and tribal lands and traditional gathering sites, and encouraging the reintroduction of such resources and designation of gathering areas on such lands.
  • By raising awareness and providing education for Native Americans, the public, public agencies, arts, educational and environmental groups of the artistry, practices and concerns of Native American Basketweavers.
  • By promoting solidarity and broadening communication among Native American Basketweavers and with other indigenous traditional artists.
  • By monitoring public and private land use and encouraging those management practices that protect and conserve traditional Native resources.
  • By monitoring and discouraging pesticide use in traditional and potential gathering areas for the safety of weavers, gatherers. and others in tribal communities.
  • By doing all of the above in a manner which respects our Elders and Mother Earth