This basket, entitled Lifeline, was made by Shan Goshorn, an Eastern Band Cherokee artist living in Oklahoma. Goshorn’s innovative woven containers reflect traditional Cherokee motifs while incorporating historic photographs, treaties, speeches, and Native alphabets.
Lifeline addresses the subject of water, and was made by Goshorn in support of the oil pipeline protest at the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in 2016. The basic pattern of the basket is the Cherokee water pattern. The basketry strips, made of Arches watercolor paper, feature the text from a speech given by David Archambault, chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux, to the United Nations on the occasion of the oil pipeline protests.
The basket also depicts a black and white photograph of the Tuckasegee River in Cherokee County, North Carolina. Cherokee people lived primarily in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee prior to their forced removal to Oklahoma in the 1830s. In 2010, the Eastern Band Cherokee protested the company Duke Energy, which planned to construct an electrical substation near the site of an ancient ceremonial mound on the Tuckasegee River. In her artist’s statement on the work, Goshorn discusses the sacredness of water in her own culture and across Native American cultures.
The BMA has acquired several works made in response to the Standing Rock protests, which attracted thousands of supporters from Native American communities and from around the world.