Wilverna Reece


2012-2013 TAAP AWARDEE

Traditional skill/art/craft: Karuk Basketry
Ethnic Background: 
Apprentice: Karen L. Young-Lenk

Contact Information

Phone: 530-493-2526

How and from whom was the tradition learned?

I began taking basket class in 1987 with Grace and Madaline Davis, two elder Karuk sisters in Happy Camp. I became real good friends with Grace. She taught me gathering materials and how to take care of it. It takes a long time to gather, everything has it’s season.

Why is this cultural tradition important to your community?

I was told by my mentor, Grace Davis, that I was to pass on what she taught me, to keep our Karuk culture going. So I’ve been teaching off and on ever since I learned.

There are not many Karuk weavers left. It takes a long time to gather and process your materials before making a basket. Most people today are too busy with jobs, families, computers, text messaging etc. to make the commitment and spend the time to learn to make our baskets. It is becoming a lost skill and art. But, our baskets are a part of who we are as Karuk people.

Wilverna Reece Biography

Birthplace: Yreka, CA
Birth Date: 12/3/46

I am Karuk Indian. I have been a Karuk Tribal Council Member for the past three years. I lived in Forks of the Salmon, California until school age and then moved to Arcata, California. I moved all over and came to Happy Camp, California in 1978.

Experience/Honors

Demonstrations
Smithsonian, D.C.
Boy Scouts of America in VA
Clarke Museum in Eureka, CA
Crocks Museum in Sacremento, CA
Chico State University, CA

Featured In:
Her Mind Made Up: Weaving Baskets the Indian Way by Ron Johnson

News from Native California

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