Wasco Sally Bag, c. 1920 Columbia River Basketry Indian hem, yarn design, trade wool trim 10" tall x 5" diameter
Sally bags, known aswapaasandaqw’alktrespectively among the Wasco and Wishxam people, are woven with a unique full-turn twining method long practiced by Native Americans of the mid-Columbia River region. The baskets were used primarily by women engaged in gathering roots and medicines during the digging season, but they were also used to gather nuts, seeds, and mushrooms. Prior to contact with Euro Americans in the early nineteenth century, the baskets were constructed primarily of dogbane (Apacynum cannabinum, also known as Indian hemp); after contact, they were often made with manufactured cotton, hemp, or jute twines.
Knowledge of the full-turn twining technique was nearly lost in 1971 with the death of Louise Van Pelt Sconawah Spino, then the only known basket maker using the traditional Wasco-style weaving method. However, through the effort of tribal elders from the Yakama and Warm Springs reservations along with non-indigenous basket weaver Mary Schlick, the artform survived and has been revitalized.