Saturday March 23, 2019

Coquille Indian Tribe’s collection of cultural treasures assimilate the Five expertly woven baskets


North Bend, April 4, 2017:  The Coquille Indian Tribe’s collection of cultural treasures have assimilated the Five expertly woven baskets, passed down through generations of local families.

Three of the preserved baskets are said to be more than a century old.

Coquille tribal elder Toni Ann Brend showcased a not so anticipated presentation during a recent tribal council meeting — to the delight of tribal chairwoman, Brenda Meade.

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“This gift to our future generations is going to touch them forever,” Meade said.

Former North Bend resident Darrell Rasmussen, who died in February, his family passed down two of the baskets. The Rasmussen family believes the two baskets were crafted either by his grandmother, Mary Wasson Tanner Miller Graves, or by Mary Wasson’s mother, Susan Adulsa Wasson.

One of the Coquille Tribe’s 19th-century matriarchs was Susan Adulsa. Many of today’s Coquilles, including Brend, trace their lineage to her.

In presenting Rasmussen’s baskets, Brend added two others made by Susan Adulsa and a third that is believed to be her work. The three baskets had belonged to Brend’s parents, Joyce and Howard “Tony” Tanner, and Brend’s uncle, Albert Allard.

Coquille weavers ­traditionally were famous for baskets that had a unique combination of artistry and utility. Susan Adulsa, who died in 1917, was one of the renowned Coquille practitioners of the craft.

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After the Coquilles were eradicated in the 19th century, many traditional basket weavers died without passing down their skills, Brend said. Basketry classes are part of the tribe’s present-day cultural restoration efforts.

“Basketry has been a lost art, and we’re trying to bring it back,” she said.

Though Brend was proud to present five classic examples of Coquille dexterity, she was wistful about parting with the baskets.

The tribe will add the five baskets to a display in the lobby of its North Bend offices, situated across U.S. Highway 101 from The Mill Casino-Hotel. Coquille baskets also can be seen at the Coos History Museum.

– prepared by Sabhyata Badhwar. Twitter: @SabbyDarkhorse

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Artifacts in US Holocaust Memorial Museum Preserve Holocaust Stories for Future Generations

A conservator at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum's conservation and research center points out a hidden pocket on a piece of clothing worn by a prisoner at a Nazi concentration camp. VOA

April 25, 2017: The small wicker doll chair was a modest toy, but it meant the world to Louise Lawrence-Israels. A gift for her second birthday, it was the only toy she possessed during the approximately three years she spent hiding from the Nazis in Amsterdam, just five blocks from the house where Anne Frank wrote in her diary.

The chair is one of thousands of artifacts housed in the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum’s new conservation and research center, which opened Monday on the annual memorial day for the 6 million Jews killed by Nazi Germany during World War II.

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“It was a big thing for me to actually give the chair, because it was a significant thing,” said Lawrence-Israels, 75, one of about two dozen Holocaust survivors who attended the center’s opening. “A lot of people can look at it and see how it was for a little child in hiding.”

The David and Fela Shapell Family Collections, Conservation and Research Center, located in the suburbs of the nation’s capital, is a state-of-the-art facility with 103,000 square feet (9,570 sq. meters) for documents and artifacts, with room for expansion.

The center houses thousands of items in eight climate-controlled vaults in a building designed to withstand tornadoes and hurricanes. Its collection includes everyday objects, from children’s toys and clothes to sewing machines used in concentration camps.

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Travis Roxlau, director of collections services, said center officials have spent 25 years gathering the items.

“We collect stories, and all of the objects that go along with those stories, because as the surviving generation passes on, these are going to be the objects that are left to help us tell the history of the Holocaust,” Roxlau said.

Survivors say the center’s holdings are critical to preserving the reality of the Holocaust.

“I think the most important thing is to make sure that the memory of the Holocaust isn’t forgotten,” said Alfred Munzer, 75, who donated a silver teething ring that went with him at the age of nine months when he was put into hiding with a Dutch-Indonesian family in the Netherlands in 1942. He also donated two small photographs of him that his mother kept hidden while she was confined in concentration camps.

Munzer, of Washington, D.C., said the center and its artifacts will serve “as a lesson to the world as to where hate can lead to.”

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Lawrence-Israels, of Bethesda, Maryland, noted that she and other Holocaust survivors are “not going to be here forever, and once we’re not here anymore the museum and this institution will speak for us.”

“This is the only evidence that we leave behind, and with the climate today it’s important that people see that this was real,” Lawrence-Israels said.

Scholars and researchers will have access to materials in the facility. A reading room is scheduled to open in the next year. The museum also is in the process of making documents and images available online. (VOA)