The Ineh ("The People"), or the Apache, once occupied a large portion of the southwestern United States and northern Mexico. Because Apache bands were hunters and raiders who covered great distances on horseback and on foot, their basketry achieved a refined state of durability, functionality and beauty. The San Carlos Apache make three distinct basket types: coiled trays and plates; the tus, an urn-shaped water container; and the burden basket. Evalena Henry of Peridot, Arizona, is recognized as the master basketweaver among the San Carlos Apache. She learned from her mother, Cecilia Henry, who made baskets until she was 89. In the late 1970s, people began asking Evalena to make burden baskets for the Sunrise Dance, a coming of age ceremony for girls that has enjoyed a renaissance in recent years. These baskets must be beautiful and intricate, with the young woman's name sometimes woven as part of the design, as well as strong because many sacred objects are placed in the basket as part of the ceremony. Evalena continues to weave and to teach younger people basketweaving skills. Often the tribe will ask her to weave special baskets for official purposes and, while her baskets are much sought after by collectors and she has won numerous prizes throughout the region for her work, she still sees as her most important responsibility the time-consuming task of weaving ceremonial baskets, often for little or no remuneration.
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