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Maine Basketmakers Sale at Hudson Museum Dec. 13

Contact: Media contact: Joe Carr (207) 581-3571

ORONO — The 9th annual Maine Indian Basketmakers Alliance holiday sale will be held at the University of Maine’s Hudson Museum on Saturday, Dec. 13. The sale and demonstration was launched nine years ago to promote an awareness and appreciation of Maine Indian culture and traditions.

The event provides visitors an opportunity to purchase one-of-a-kind brown ash splint and sweetgrass baskets, carvings, jewelry and birchbark work of the Maliseet, Micmac, Passamaquoddy and Penobscot artists, all while taking in traditional singing and drumming, and sampling native foods.

This year’s event is set for Saturday, Dec. 13, from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. and is free and open to the public. Early bird shopping will be held from 9-10 a.m. for a $10 admission fee.

The alliance was formed in 1993 after the death of renowned Penobscot basketmaker Madeline Shay. At that time less than 15 basketmakers were under the age of 50. Now the alliance has about 70 members and they gather to sell baskets three times each year: the holiday sale at the Hudson Museum, the Native American Festival at the College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor in July and the Common Ground Fair in Unity in September. Members of the alliance also offer basketmaking classes for tribal members. Since 1990 the Maine Arts Commission has awarded 85 Maine Indian basketry apprenticeships to support the perpetuation of Maine’s oldest art form.

There will be more than 30 vendors at this year’s event. The prices of the baskets, ranging from $30 to $800–many are sold by the artists who made them.

Other events scheduled for the day include brown ash pounding and work basket demonstrations, a book signing, drumming and  singing, the sale of traditional foods and a non-perishable food drive to benefit the Fiddlehead Food Pantry. The sales of the traditional foods benefit the Penobscot Nation DHS Activities Fund. The Fiddlehead Food Pantry provides food for First Nation People in the Wabanaki regions.

All vendors, artists and performers are required to be members of one of Maine’s four federally recognized tribes. This ensures that the cultural activities and the products purchased are authentic.

The following is the program of the day’s events:

  • Early Bird Shopping: 9-10 a.m., $10. Tickets available from the Hudson Museum Shop (207-581-1903).

  • Welcome: 10 a.m., by the host tribe the Penobscot Nation and the Maine Indian Basketmakers Alliance.

  • Brown ash pounding: 10:30-11:00 a.m., by Eldon Hanning, Micmac; 11:00 a.m.-12 p.m., by Jeremy Frey, Passamaquoddy.

  • Book signing: 11 a.m.-12 p.m., with Ed Rice, author of “Baseball’s First Indian:  Louis Sockalexis.”

  • Traditional food sale: 11 a.m.-1 p.m., in the Bodwell Area. Hull corn soup and fry bread will be served. Sales will benefit the Penobscot Nation DHS Youth Activities Fund.

  • Traditional drumming and singing: 1:30-2:30 p.m. by the Burnurwurbskek Singers.

  • Food drive: Non-perishable foods may be donated to the Fiddlehead Food Pantry, which provides food for First Nation People in the Wabanaki Regions.

For more information, please call 581-1901 or visit the Hudson Museum website.

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