Light brown haired woman holding a woven item

Traditional Skill/Art: Rogue River Tribe Basket Weaving

Contact Information:

                Phone: (503)507-5042 



Stephanie is of Santiam and Yoncalla Kalapuya, Takelma Rogue River, Cow Creek Umpqua, and Clackamas Chinook descent and a seventh-generation traditional basket weaver, tradition keeper, and ethnobotanist (the traditional harvesting, preparation, and storage of indigenous plants). She comes from a long line of strong traditional women-weavers in her tribe, and she grew up around the basketry and listened to her great-great-aunties and other elders in her tribe talk about the old ways. Stephanie also runs a small business where she travels to different tribes and institutions to teach weaving. Stephanie learned to weave through the oral traditions of her family when she was young. Her weaving and plant teachings have come from traditional weaving elders and other tribal members from neighboring tribes. Besides her early and informal apprenticeships with elders on the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde reservation, The Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis Reservation, Suquamish Indian Tribe, and the Lummi Nation, Craig has studied under three of the most accomplished Tribal basket makers in Oregon - the late Sanda "Sam" Henny of the Grand Ronde Tribe, the late Minerva Soucie of the Burns-Paiute Tribe, Pat Courtney Gold (Wasco) - and renowned anthropologist Margaret Mathewson. Following the tradition, which encompasses all aspects of basket making, Craig harvests all her own material--beaked and California hazel, sandbar and gray willow, juncus, tule, and cattails--all from old traditional sites and other closely guarded gathering spots in the mountains. The history of the Grand Ronde tribes includes forced removal from their homelands and ways of life to a new forced assimilation where they were punished for practicing and continuing their traditions. Because of this, the tribes have a couple of generations who grew up without knowledge of these traditional arts and practices. Stephanie wants to pass on these important teachings, so they do not become lost again.


APPRENTICE BIOGRAPHY - Dakota Zimmer 2022-2023
Dakota Zimmer was born in Portland Oregon. She is an enrolled tribal member of Grand Ronde and descended from Rogue River, Molalla, and Clackamas Tribes. Growing up in Grand Ronde Dakota has been immersed in the culture of the tribe. Besides attending pow wows several times a year, Dakota has also crafted traditional beaded items throughout the last 20 years. Recently, Dakota has been surrounded by the traditional baskets, materials, and weaving techniques of her ancestors through her employment at her tribe’s museum. This sparked an interest in Dakota to learn more about the traditions of her ancestors. Dakota comes from a line of basket weavers but over time that knowledge of her family was lost. Through her apprenticeship with Stephanie Dakota wants to learn and bring this traditional back to her family and community for future generations.


Describe your traditional art.
Basket weaving and ethnobotany was and is still used in everyday life and ceremonies from clothing to food storage, gathering and cooking, to baby baskets, rattles, ceremonial foods, traditional medicines and tools. This is such an important tradition and it is part of our, my identity. Without our relationship within the plant world, we as Native Americans lose a huge part of who we are and what we represent-living with the land and being good stewards. It is important for my tribe, my community and my family that I continue the old ways for our people.
How did you come to learn this tradition?
I learned a lot through oral traditions through my family when I was young. My weaving and plant teachings have come from traditional weaving elders and other tribal members from neighboring tribes. I knew from an early age that I wanted to be a cultural keeper and bearer. Weaving runs in my blood, as soon as I picked up materials when I was younger, I knew this was my path my ancestors wanted me on.
Why is this cultural tradition important to your community?
I have a small business where I travel to different tribes and institutions to teach weaving. With this apprenticeship, I will be teaching traditional ethnobotany and traditional weaving. Within each season the apprentice will learn what plants are available for harvest, how to traditionally gather, prepare and store materials. We will also learn different styles of basket weaving that is important to our culture-southern Oregon Rogue River, and Willamette Valley. In time, my apprentice will be able to teach her own classes, thus also creating more students, more teachers and the lifeways will continue to grow.
1.  August 2022 Oregon Arts Commission Artist Relief grant 
2.  August 2022 CERF+ Covid-19 Artist grant 
3.  2020 Oregon Arts Commission Covid-19 Artist Relief grant 
4.  2020 CERF+ Covid-19 Artist grant 
5.  2017-2018 Bill Holm Center, Visiting Researcher grant, Burk Museum, Seattle, WA 
6.  2017-2018 Bill Holm Center Workshop grant, Burk Museum, Seattle, WA 
7.  2016 Oregon Folklife Network Oregon Culture Keeper Roster member via surveyor