In the Yokuts family of tribes of the Central San Joaquin Valley, basket weaving is a vital tradition involving skills ranging from gathering and preparing materials to weaving itself, and knowledge about the appropriate use of baskets.
Lois Conner, who is of the Chukchansi Tribe and has been weaving for over 30 years, learned the techniques of coiling and twining from her grandmothers and aunts.
As a master artist in ACTA’s Apprenticehsip Program in 2002, Lois shared her knowledge of making twined baby baskets with her apprentice, Dee Dominguez, of the Yowlumne Tribe. During the apprenticeship, Dee made a “receiving baby basket” or hoop, which is the temporary basket used immediately after birth to hold the child. They then made a full-sized cradleboard or pasuk, of which the design motifs indicate the child’s sex and which is traditionally made by a the paternal grandmother of the baby.