June 14, 2015 —
One of two California Indian coiled baskets on display at the Ramona Museum, 339 S. Mission Drive, San Gabriel.
Probably yucca root (red) and bracken fern (black) designs on a sedge root background. Kern River: Either Yokuts on the west (Tejon area) or Tubatulabal on the east (Lake Isabella area). Kitanemuk is also a possibility.
According to the museum signage, this basket "was purchased in 1875 from a native resident of a village near Tejon by Sra. Julian Ruiz de LeLong."
When the Spanish mission period ended in the 1820s, many Native Americans from several different cultures — from San Gabriel to Santa Barbara, including the Santa Clarita Valley — relocated to the Tejon area, where in 1853 the San Sebastian Indian Reservation was established. After the reservation was formally disbanded in 1864, many remained in the area. Women (almost exclusively women) made baskets both for their own use and for sale to tourists. This basket may have been one such souvenir item.
The Ramona Museum houses the collection of Ramona Parlor 109, the L.A.-based chapter of Native Sons of the Golden West, a historical association of persons born in California (regardless of ancestry). The Ramona Museum's core collection was donated to Ramona Parlor 109 in 1912 by the organization's historian, Charles Prudhomme.
Chartered in 1887, Ramona Parlor 109 performed the functions of a local historical society in the Santa Clarita Valley until the SCV established its own society in 1975.