Washoe basket maker Theresa Smokey Jackson came from a long line of weavers. She started learning to make willow baskets when she was just a teenager. She and her sister, JoAnn Smokey Martinez, grew up speaking Washoe and participating in many traditional Native American ways of life such as gathering pine nuts and basket materials. Jackson had extensive knowledge of Washoe customs, which she generously shared and passed on to younger generations.
Jackson and Martinez received Governor's Arts Awards in 1995. Jackson was a master artist several times in the Nevada Arts Council's Traditional Arts Apprenticeship program. Her best student was her own daughter, Sue Coleman. An accomplished weaver, Coleman is also the recipient of a Governor's Arts Award.
Theresa Jackson's gentle spirit, good humor, and deep love of Washoe traditions made her a cultural treasure among her people and for all Nevadans. She passed away at her home in Gardnerville in 1999 at the age of eighty-three.
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