Invited to the Table of Deceit

Shan Goshorn
Center basket- approx 11” X 11” X 8.5”
8 smaller baskets -approx 4” X 4” X 4.25” each
Arches watercolor paper splints printed with archival inks, acrylic paint

The Treaty of Medicine Lodge serves as the warp (vertical splints) for all of the baskets in this “dinnerware set”, combining additional treaties (specifically Navajo, California, Ft Wayne, Canandaigua, Horse Creek, Medicine Lodge, Muscogee and Potawatomi Treaties) with each of the smaller “bowl” baskets. The center “serving bowl” features a historical photo by Alexander Gardner (collection NMAI, Smithsonian Institution), showing a Sauk and Fox delegation with several US Indian commissioners. One of the delegates is holding a pipe, which most members of Plains Tribes insisted on smoking with the commissioners upon the conclusion of their meetings. To these Indians, smoking a ceremonial pipe elevated any negotiations or agreements to the level of the divine. To default on such a promise was to break a vow with God.

The title refers to the deliberate way the US government entered into agreements, often with no intention of keeping the pacts made with native leaders. There are records of agreements being broken even as the documents are being signed.

These baskets are woven in a traditional Cherokee single weave style, in the pattern Cross-on a Hill and Peace Pipe.

Private Collection