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LOOK BACK: Mable Taylor of Tseshaht First Nation

Taylor remembered as a renowned basket-maker
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This photo, circa 1975, shows Mable Taylor at Polly’s Point making a pattern basket. This and 24,000 other photos can be found at the Alberni Valley Museum’s online photo archives at portalberni.pastperfectonline.com. (PHOTO PN03170 COURTESY ALBERNI VALLEY MUSEUM)

Mable Taylor is remembered as an influential figure within Tseshaht First Nation. Originally from Ditidaht territory, she married the late Roy Taylor and lived much of her life at Polly’s Point in Port Alberni. She died in 1984.

Denis St. Claire, who was adopted by the late Adam Shewish (the Tseshaht Taayii Hawilth or hereditary head chief), conducted numerous ethnographic interviews with Mable, who was Adam’s aunt and mother figure after his biological mother died at a young age. Her maiden name was Hayes.

According to St. Claire, Mable was a renowned basket-maker, and her baskets are in museums and private collections throughout the world. She was also a teacher of the art form, teaching many other ladies how to weave baskets, and how and where to collect the grasses and cedar bark needed for weaving.

To view more than 24,000 historical Port Alberni photos, visit the Alberni Valley Museum’s online photo archives at portalberni.pastperfectonline.com.