Choctaw Split Cane Basketry

A project to document the traditions of Choctaw split cane basketry was completed in 2002. This project was a joint effort by the Jena Band of Choctaw, the U. S. Forest Service, and the Regional Folklife Program. The project was designed to teach Jena Band members to identify, harvest, and process cane in order to pass the art of basketry on in the community. Tribal members registered for classes under the guidance of basket maker, Rose Fisher Blasingame.

Gather River Cane

In Phase I of the project, Rose took the students out in the woods to gather river cane, instructing them in what type of cane to gather, the size, and the condition needed to produce a strong basket.

Rose Fisher Blasingame shows students how to identify and gather river cane for baskets.

Christine Jackson Norris (left) and her aunt, traditionalist Mary Jackson Jones, gather cane.

Rose and her son, Micah Blasingame II, ably assisted by their canine companion, carry river cane out of the woods.

Wash & Scour the Cane

After gathering the cane, the class traveled to Buttermilk Swimming Hole on Trout Creek to wash and scour the cane in running water.

Students use sand and fresh running water to clean and scour cane on Trout Creek.

Process the Cane

The students then gathered at the tribal center to process the cane, splitting and peeling each cane to make splints.

This Choctaw Split Cane Basketry project was documented both photographically and on videotape by the U.S. Forest Service and the Louisiana Regional Folklife Program.

Additional Photos

Rose is weaving a heart-shaped basket.

The bottom part of a fanner with processed and dyed splints.

Rose and Mary Jackson Jones. Mary provided the Choctaw narration to be used in the film project.