Artifact of the Week


Twined bichrome cylindrical lidded basket, also called a “Sally Bag,” Columbia Plateau, possibly Wasco-Wishram

Hemp, corn husk, natural dye, doe skin, cotton thread

ca. 1885, North America

“Sally Bags” are flexible cylindrical baskets common in Columbia Plateau weaving. These baskets had a loop which could attach to a belt to be worn and the rims are typically finished with leather or skin. They were used to carry food stores and personal items. “Sally bags” were created by the Wasco and Wishram people, as well as the Umatilla and Cayuse. The Wasco and Wishram people refer to these bags as wapaas and aqw’alkt respectively. While there are many stories as to why this type of basket garnered its unusual name, the earliest confirmed record references Sally Wahkiacus (b. 1825 – d. ?), who was a well-known weaver of this style of basket on the Upper Kilickatat River (Schlick, Mary Dodds, Columbia River Basketry: Gift of the Ancestors, Gift of the Earth, 1994).

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