We profile Akwesasne territory artist Carrie Hill and her effort to keep history alive by hand crafting traditional Mohawk baskets
Sweetgrass Baskets of Mohawk Artist Carrie Hill
Carrie Hill is native to the Akwesasne Mohawk Territory and has carried on the tradition of basket weaving for the past seven years. This is a special tradition passed down from her ancestors, first for utility purposes and then over time these baskets have been used for ceremonial and decorative purposes. She first picked up this trade when she had requested her Aunt teach her the ins and outs of weaving. Hill states, “It was like my hands were made for weaving”, referring to the first basket she had made in 2007. “It just felt natural”. It is no surprise since Hill’s Great-Grandmother’s work is showcased at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington D.C.
“It just felt natural”
Holding on to this tradition means a lot to not only Carrie, but first nations around the states. As there has been a significant decline in traditions like this over the past generation. Hill tries hard to keep the process as natural as possible, picking sweet grass on her property, hand pounding black ash trees with her uncle, soaking, splitting, & scraping the wood by hand, and also working with her own daughters to produce these wonderful pieces of art. To put her own spin on her work, Carrie likes to experiment with different twists, designs, and colors. She can also be found all around the region teaching classes and demonstrating how to weave, as well as working as a basket vendor at many different events and shows. Hill states ” I do it for the love, not the money”. She remains very determined to keep this tradition alive.