Pieced Treaties; Spider's Web Treaty Basket

Shan Goshorn
20 x 20 x 28”
Paper splints, commercial inks, acrylic paint 

Woven in the traditional Cherokee basket pattern called Spider’s Web, this is the first basket that I ever wove; the result of an idea to illustrate the tangled rewriting of the Oklahoma and Cherokee Nation Tobacco Compact. Many non-Indian businesses felt that tribal sovereignty gave Indians an unfair advantage in regard to the sale of tobacco products (no state tax on tribal land) and were lobbying to completely do away with Native sovereignty. The original Tobacco compact was active from 1993 to 2003- during that decade much in the tobacco world changed. The revised compact was very complicated and the compromises unsatisfying; both the State of Oklahoma and the Cherokee Nation felt the compact was being interpreted incorrectly by the other party. Immediately after the rewriting they were (and still were when this basket was made) in arbitration trying to sort it out. 

This basket is woven with sliced reproductions of this compact; it was left deliberately unfinished as negotiations appear to be ongoing.

Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of the American Indian Museum Collection