In Memoriam: Molly Neptune Parker, Passamaquoddy basket maker

Passamaquoddy basket maker

Molly Neptune Parker. Image courtesy of the Abbe Museum

INDIAN TOWNSHIP, Maine (AP) – Molly Neptune Parker, a Passamaquoddy basket maker and a National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage fellow, is being laid to rest Thursday.

Parker was the matriarch of four generations of Passamaquoddy basket makers, and she made it her life’s work to teach others.

Parker died Friday at age 81 surrounded by her family following a brief stay at Calais Regional Hospital, her family said. Her burial was set for Thursday at Indian Township after a private Mass.

She enjoyed making any type of basket with ash and sweetgrass, though her signature basket was shaped like an acorn.

“Basketmaking is an art that I believe I was born to do, much as my ancestors have done for thousands of years,” Parker said in 2012, after being awarded the NEA fellowship.

The Maine Indian Basketmakers Alliance said Parker was the group’s longest-serving president. “She was a fluent speaker of Passamaquoddy, an amazing cook, and all-around incredible person,” the group said.

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AP-WF-06-18-20 0700GMT