November 07, 2010

Modoc basket on History Detectives

I caught this episode of History Detectives on TV Saturday:

Modoc BasketAIRED Season 8, Episode 9
THE PLACE:  Oregon

Our contributor believes she has a basket woven by a woman who played a pivotal role in the Indian Wars that helped define the settlement of the West.

The weaver worked the name “Toby” into the pattern of the basket. Could this be Toby Riddle, the woman who thrust her body into the line of fire to save the life of a peace negotiator?

Riddle’s fluency in English and the Modoc language positioned her as a mediator between the two nations. Congress rewarded her bravery with a life-long pension.

Did Toby Riddle weave this basket? History Detectives consults with an historian of Indian Wars and an appraiser who specializes in Native American baskets and finds a key clue in the hands of Toby Riddle’s great great granddaughter.
Comment:  Short answer: Yes, Riddle probably wove the basket.

You can read a transcript of the episode or watch it online at the link above.

History Detectives has covered several Native items before. From what I've seen, the show brings the usual PBS/liberal sensitivity to Native topics.

For more on this episode, see Modoc War on History Detectives. For previous episodes about Indians, see Fillmore Pardon on History Detectives and Navajo Rug on History Detectives.

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