Tribe: Eastern Band of Cherokees
Location: Cherokee, North Carolina
2011 Community Spirit Award Honoree
Not only is Lucille Lossiah one of her tribe’s most skilled basket weavers, she is also carrying on a very important tradition by teaching young people the art form and the importance of keeping it alive. Lucille makes one of the oldest styles of Cherokee baskets by stripping her own cane and using natural, homemade, dyes. She is a master at her craft and can work with all traditional Cherokee materials and dyes. Lucille has taught many classes to different skill and age levels for the past ten years, dedicating her time to ensure that her precious knowledge is passed on to other tribal members. She says, “Basketry is a form of therapy that also connects the people with their culture.”
“We are strongest when our culture is being practiced, and it is the dedicated few like Lucille who work so hard to ensure that our traditions will be preserved. Ms. Lossiah not only helped me learn to make baskets but she also helped teach me to be proud of myself, my work, and my Cherokee culture.” - Tonya Carroll, Outreach Worker at Qualla Arts & Crafts Mutual.