Corine Pearce

Redwood Valley Little River Band of Pomo

I am a Native California basketweaver.

My weaving heals and restores both the land and the people. I weave to connect the future generations to a living cultural identity and to remind them they will also face struggles and triumphs, and they will also carry the spirit of our ancestors.

Weaving heals us as a tribe because most people in my tribe have no baskets. We are reclaiming our culture through our basketry.

PBS Craft in America: California

Here in the heart of Pomo territory, I am one of only five remaining basketweavers in my area – covering over seven thousand square miles – who still weave cradle baskets for the hundreds of families who need them.

Keeping Native Habitats Healthy

My basketry strengthens the plants, habitats, and landscapes of our area. For example, for twenty-seven years I’ve tended the sedge beds along the banks of the Russian River of my great aunt, a place where there are the most beautiful, the longest roots (up to eight feet!) I’ve ever seen.

My tending and gathering [re]creates cultural landscapes by [re]building relationships with living plants in specific habitats. It is those relationships that propel me forward, driving me to perfect my skills and technique with the plants themselves.

If I don’t continuously maintain that sedge bed, the sedge becomes unusable: the roots become knotty and short (unusable and undesirable), instead of straight and long. My sedge work has helped strengthen the river banks and reduce soil erosion: even with river banks changing each year, we don’t lose big chunks of soil where my sedge bed is located. My tending helps riparian-based animals, because before I began tending, no four-leggeds could get through to the river. Now they can.

Keeping Cultural Traditions Alive

My weaving connects future generations to a living cultural identity, reminding them that they will also face struggles and triumphs, and they also carry the spirit of our ancestors. For over twenty years I’ve taught and displayed basketry at gatherings, festivals and Big Times; I offer year-long basketry classes (including seasonal plant harvesting and tending), and I lecture widely on wild-harvested foods and medicines in three counties at over a dozen tribal offices and inter-tribal centers

I help my family and other Pomo families to restore ancestral traditions and inspire communities to revitalize their cultural practices by working closely with tribal councils to offer weaving classes and to maintain community basketry and medicine gardens.

Sometimes the best thing is being able to teach an elder to weave. It is good to hear people say that they have finally been able to accomplish a goal they’ve had their entire life.

Support Native Basketry!

Sponsor a student

The best way to learn Native basketry is to actually do it, from tending baskety plants where they grow, to trimming, sizing, and curing the raw materials, and then to sitting down to weave.

By donating to the California Indian Museum and Cultural Center, you can help keep basketry traditions ongoing.

Buy A Copy of My Book

In the paperback book Pomo Cradle Baskets: An Introduction (Beauty & Love Publishing, 2018) I describe the history, wild-crafting, distinct styles and contemporary use of traditional cradle baskets, with lots of photos!

You can purchase a copy here.

Follow My Work

My portfolio showcases traditional Pomo baskets created throughout my career.

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