Anishinaabe Plants: Learning from Museum Collections at the University of Michigan

How do Indigenous peoples make baskets and mats using plants native to the Great Lakes region? In 1933, Volney Jones, an ethnobotanist at the University of Michigan’s Museum of Anthropology, set out to answer this question by visiting Indigenous communities in Ontario and Michigan. Through interviews and observation, Jones learned how Anishinaabe basket makers prepared plants for weaving and the techniques they used to make these textiles. Jones took detailed notes and collected over 100 items for the Museum’s growing ethnobotanical collection. More than 85 years later, University Michigan students in the Museum Anthropology course researched the items Jones collected and help create content for this website. By reconnecting these items with field notes and photos, we learned about the Anishinaabe families who Jones interviewed and the knowledge they shared with him.  


Department or Unit

Publish Date


Support Partners

Funding Source

Digital Platform(s)