photo: Nevada State Museum
between 1825 and 1850 near Lake Tahoe, Dat so la lee gained considerable fame
as a basket maker.
During much of her adult life, she worked as a housekeeper
and cleaning woman. In 1895, however, her talent at weaving baskets was recognized
by Amy Cohn, wife of prominent Carson City merchant Abe Cohn.
The Cohns’ aggressively
marketed Dat so la lee’s baskets and even concocted colorful Indian stories
and legends to describe the design of each. Soon, Dat so la lee’s work
gained international acclaim and, during her lifetime, one of her baskets sold
for five thousand dollars. But it was hard-earned money since she would sometimes
spend as much as a year weaving a single basket.
Today, some of her baskets have
been valued at more than a quarter of a million dollars. Experts recognize Dat
so la lee, a member of the Washo Indian tribe, as having been an innovator in
basket making because she introduced unique, non-traditional designs and materials
in the making of her baskets. Dat so la lee died in 1925 and is buried at the
Stewart Cemetery on Snyder Avenue. Her grave reads, “Myriads of stars shine
over the graves of our ancestors.”
<< Previous | Next >>