Carolyn Smith (member-descendent of the Karuk tribe) is the 2018-2020 Chancellor's Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, and a Board Member for the California Indian Basketweavers Association, as well as a traditional basketweaver and artist. Her research engages with indigenous knowledge to consider how basketry is profoundly intertwined with people, language, and the environment.
April 24, 2020
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Narratives of Change, Reminders of Resilience: The Interconnections of Karuk Baskets, Environment, and the People
Monday April 27, 2-4 PM zoom
Dr. Carolyn Smith
UC Chancellor's Postdoctoral Fellow, Ethnic Studies
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Engaging in a holistic research practice, grounded in indigenous methodologies, this paper recalls and calls out the ways in which Karuk baskets are woven with the roots of knowing about the world and are entangled with the responsibility to “fix- the-world.” Told through a series of interconnected stories, I will illustrate critical issues that Karuk weavers face today—repatriation, climate change, resilience—by examining the how baskets embody tangible and intangible knowledge. I discuss how the continuance of Karuk weaving practices relies on the ability to steward and harvest basket weaving plants. Additionally, I will consider how weather events during the past ten years in the Klamath River basin have impacted Karuk basket weaving, specifically how it relates to shifts in gathering seasons, plant availability, and plant quality. Ultimately, this presentation will demonstrate the resilience and perpetuation of the Karuk basket weaving practice through weaving pikyav (to-fix-it).