The Original Honor Basket + the story of my dream!
Honor Basket Story and Symbolizes
By Pam outdusis Cunningham “Little Pathway”
The design for this basket came to me in a dream. In the dream, an old friend asked me if I had a basket for sale. I held up a “curly bowl”
basket. After I handed it to him, I noticed it had changed into a magician’s black hat.
In the dream, I then drove onto Indian Island and went around visiting people and making things. While I was braiding sweet grass at an
Elder’s home, I saw four dollar bills. I took them and left to find my friend. When I met him, he was holding this same basket, offering things
from it, such as sweet grass smudgers, small prayer braids, pieces of cedar, sage, sweetgrass, and tobacco to people, as they walked by.
He saw me and waved me over. That was when I saw the turtle on the inside of the basket cover. “Nice basket.” I said, as I handed him the
money. “Yes it is.” he said, smiling. “Thank you for making it for me.” He smiled at me and took the money, putting it in the basket. Then
he said, “Good: One for each direction. Woliwoni.”
This friend, a respected tribal member, had passed away, years ago.
The original basket is in the permanent collection at the Robert Abbe Museum in Bar Harbor, Maine.
Here are the symbols which are woven into the basket or held within it:
The basket is constructed with a square bottom, but made with a round top, which has sweetgrass bound around the rim…= the four
directions coming together to form a “circle of unity.” The directions are symbolized in plant material as follows: South as tobacco,
symbolizing nature and vitality. West as sage, symbolizing wisdom and longevity. North as cedar, symbolizing the past and honor. East as
sweet grass, symbolizing regeneration and health. The sweetgrass also is in honor of the Wabanaki ~ People of the Dawn. These people
are the tribes and nations of the Maliseet, Micmac, Passamaquoddy, and Penobscot. The turtle on the inside cover is woven in honor of
Mother Earth. The dragonfly has been represented to honor all of those who have passed on before us ~ celebrating the power of ‘shape
shifting.’ A long sweetgrass prayer braid is held within to bless this basket and all things it touches. A seashell, bundle of cedar, sage,
sweet grass, and tobacco are to be used by you; to honor your own desires, dreams, and hopes. And the heart…The heart is for
LOVE…and for peace.
I am honored to be able to create such a basket, and so I chose to call it the “Honor” Basket.
Woliwoni (Thank you, in Penobscot)
Pam outdusis Cunningham
Little Pathway, in Penobscot
Penobscot Indian Master basketmaker
|To place an order contact me by e-mail
or you can call/text me at:
or write to me at:
Pam outdusis Cunningham
208 Old County Rd
Hampden, ME, USA
Payment in full when order is placed.
Checks, money orders,
Visa/Mastercard or Discover and
|Penobscot Fancy Baskets Hand Crafted from Brown Ash and Sweetgrass
by Pam outdusis Cunningham