Nettie Jackson

(American | Yakama Nation | Klickitat, born 1942, died 2013)

Late Native American artist Nettie Kuneki Jackson is a celebrated and respected Klickitat basketmaker, descended from a family of master basketweavers. The Klickitat people are from Central Washington and Oregon.

She did not learn basketweaving until age thirty, as it seemed irrelevant to modern life. Growing up, she spent her summers with her Klickitat grandmother, Mattie Spencer Slockish, who was a skilled basketmaker. Later she watched her mother-in-law, Elsie Thomas, make baskets using traditional shapes and materials such as beargrass and split cedar. Jackson was inspired by these women and by her mother's wish, before her death in 1972, that her daughters take up tribal traditions. She carried on those traditions as a prolific and creative basket maker who was also dedicated to keeping the tradition of Klikitat basketweaving alive.

She co-authored a book titled "The Heritage of Klickitat Basketry" (1982). She was also featured in the award-winning documentary film "And Woman Wove It In a Basket" (1989) that examines the spiritual and cultural importance of basket weaving as a way for contemporary Klickitat women to reclaim their native heritage.

She was honored with a Washington State Governor's Arts and Heritage Award in 1992 and a National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts in 2000. She lived and worked in the small town of White Swan, near Yakima, Central Washington.