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Lilly Baker 1911-
Maidu Basket Weaver

Lilly Baker is an expert weaver of traditional Maidu baskets. She has been weaving baskets most of her life. She started her first basket when she was nine years old. Basket-weaving is difficult and Baker got so frustrated she threw the basket away. Later, her father persuaded her to finish it.

Since then, Baker has woven hundreds of baskets. She weaves the same way her mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother did. She uses the same kinds of materials they used, such as willow stems, pine roots, and bear grass. Each basket takes a long time to make, but Baker has learned patience.

Baker's baskets have been shown in museums and galleries around California. She visits schools and community groups to show how she does basket-weaving. She also teaches Maidu students. Baker is passing along Maidu traditions and teaching an important lesson: finish what you start.

Comprehension Check

What did Baker have to learn in order to weave baskets?

Critical Thinking

In what ways is Lilly Baker helping to keep traditional Maidu culture alive?