Ethel Santiago teaching Margaret Cypress sweetgrass basket making

Date: February 1984

Source: S1640 , Container 1

Type: Still Image

This item has not yet been digitized. It is available for use in person at the State Archives in Tallahassee. You may also order a copy – click on the Ordering tab for details.


  • Three proof sheets with 78 black and white images (plus negatives). Santiago and Cypress were among the first participants in the Florida Folk Arts Apprenticeship Program in 1983-1984. As a master folk artist, Santiago taught Cypress how to make sweetgrass baskets. Images include them gathering sweetgrass, weaving baskets, and of Owen transcribing tapes at the reservation. Traditionally, Seminoles baskets were shallow and woven from palmetto fronds. Circa 1930, sweetgrass baskets, inspired perhaps by African American arts, were designed to represent 'authentic' Seminole culture for the tourist trade. Over time, they became traditional. The Folk Arts Apprenticeship Program began in 1983 with a NEA grant of $22,000. The program provided an opportunity for master folk artists to share technical skills and cultural knowledge with apprentices in order to keep the tradition alive. Apprentices must have had some experience in the tradition and agreed to train for at least six months. The first project director was Blanton Owen,who was later replaced by folklorist Peter Roller. The program was held each year until 2003.

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