Kelly Church: Fifth Generation Basketmaker

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by Nick Vander Puy
Reserve, Wisconsin (LCOTV)

Kelly Church is a fifth generation black ash basket maker from Grand Traverse Band of Chippewa and Ottawa in southwestern Michigan. 

For generations Anishinaabe have been harvesting black ash trees to make baskets.  The baskets are used for carrying babies, berries, and decoration. The entire tree is cut down and cut into strips for weaving.  It's a laborious process.

Black Ash trees grow in the swamps.

The black ash trees are threatened by the invasive Emerald Ash Borer. The only way to save the trees is to save seeds for replanting. 

"All the Black Ash in North America will probably die." 

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