The California Indian Basketweavers Association

July 30th, 2017

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Background and History

In the late 20th century, the age-old art of basketweaving, perfected over centuries by California Indians, appeared at risk of dying out. 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.

The need to support weavers and address these problems was confirmed during a statewide gathering of basketweavers in 1991. Following the gathering, a basketweavers council was formed to plan future gatherings, to establish a formal organization, and to begin solving the problems identified. At the next statewide gathering (in 1992) weavers formed the California Indian Basketweavers Association (CIBA) and members of the council became its founding board of directors. An executive director was hired, and tax-exempt status followed in 1993.