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Copyright 2018 - Traditional Handmade Baskets

The Mohawk Made website was created by a group of Mohawk Women who enjoy the art and preserve the skills of the Native American tradition of basket weaving. Many years have passed with parents and grandparents carrying on this unique tradition of basket weaving.  As these generations have past on, the sweet grass and ash splint baskets, used for utilitarian, ceremonial and decorative, continue to be an important part of Mohawk culture.

The ladies of Mohawk Made have over sixty combined year of experience in basket making and continue to grow their tightly weaved friendship together.  Each one of them have a story to tell on how they began their journey for the love of basket making and weaving their creations.  They are Sheila Ransom, Debbie Cook-Jacobs and Nanci Ransom. They continue weaving through generations of culture and friendship.

The ladies of Mohawk Made would like to pass on their knowledge of basket making to the next seven generations.  

Nanci Ransom

Nanci Ransom (Tekonwaskenion) 

Nanci Ransom, Bear Clan, enjoys making baskets out of black ash splint and sweet grass.  She grew up on the Canadian side of the Akwesasne Mohawk Reservation, in the village of St. Regis, Quebec. 

Her father, Dave Thompson,  supported his family through his hard working character traits as an accomplished pack basket maker, carpenter, gardener and retired iron worker. As a little girl, she remembers helping her father loading pack baskets into a vehicle and hauling them by the dozens to Landry's Store in Hogansburg, New York.  Her father purchased groceries and household necessities in exchange for his baskets. Her father Dave was one of main inspirations in her life for basket-making and remembers his hard working hands and gentle smile.  Her mother Elizabeth was a fancy basket-maker who made tiny sweet grass baskets and braided sweet grass as part of her crafts.  She remembers sitting beside her at times and learning to braid the tightly woven sweet grass and miniature baskets and smelling the distinctive sweet scent of the sweet grass and splint throughout her house. In the early mornings in the village you can hear the distinct sound of black ash logs being pounded throughout the village for basket makers. "It was like music in the village" she said. 

Sheila Ransom

Sheila Ransom (Kanieson)

Sheila Kanieson Ransom, Wolf Clan of the Akwesasne Mohawk Nation has been making black ash and sweet grass baskets for more than 20 years.  Sheila learned fancy basket making from her Godmother Mae Bigtree, a renowned basket maker.   She also learned to make utility baskets from Henry Arquette, a master basket maker.  An antique mold inspired Sheila to make a sewing basket that won first place at the 2005 Indian Village of the New York State Fair.

Read more: Sheila Ransom

Debbie Cook-Jacobs

Debbie Cook Jacobs (Kanerahtiiohsta)

I am a Mohawk basket maker from Akwesasne, bear clan. I make utility and fancy baskets from black ash splint and sweetgrass. I also enjoy collecting old baskets for inspiration and duplicating the old style weaves.

Read more: Debbie Cook-Jacobs