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Birch Bark Basket

Curated Submission
Tsawwassen, British Columbia
DIMENSIONS in centimetres
21 x 15 x 17.5
Materials & techniques
Birch bark, cedar bark; Sewing, bark cultivation
Reginald James Green
Delta Museum and Archives Society DE1969.4.44
This is an example of a practical basket made with birch and cedar for use in a home in Tsawwassen, British Columbia. Birch was once found in several places along the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, though it is no longer commonly found there owing to habitat destruction. Today birch continues to be found across Boundary Bay from Tsawwassen at Birch Bay, Washington. Historically, gathering areas did not follow currently recognized borders, but this basket is indicative of the complex trade networks across Pacific Northwest First Nation communities.
Birch bark was harvested in strips from relatively young growth near the top of a tree. This bark was generally more pliable and could be shaped and folded to suit many different needs. Seams are sealed using cedar bark as strong, flexible stitching. The uneven stitching served both a decorative and practical purpose. An evenly stitched rim was weaker as the stitch holes acted like perforations that could easily tear. Woven into the cedar rim are dark brown fibres, likely horsehair. 
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