Marquette receives Emma Big Bear basket collection
By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor
Terry Landsgaard, of West Union, gifted the city of Marquette with his collection of Emma Big Bear baskets and other Native American art and artifacts at the Nov. 19 city council meeting.
“My grandpa loved the idea of Native Americans and all they stood for, so I grew up learning and knowing about Emma.” Landsgaard explained. “We went to see Emma and always knew what she was doing and where she was.”
Through that, Landsgaard said he became infatuated with her baskets and the artistry and craftsmanship she put into them.
“Everything is just so smooth and well-balanced,” he said while presenting one of the baskets. “She knew what she was doing.”
Over the years, Landgaard has collected as many baskets, art and artifacts as he could, but lamented that many baskets were not cared for or were even destroyed. As he gets older, Landsgaard said leaving his collection in the city’s protective care will ease his mind.
“I want the collection to have a good home and not end up in a dumpster or burn pile. This is saving part of the heritage of our area and the heritage of some of the people in this area,” he said. “And Marquette was the last place she lived. This was her home turf.”
The collection will be displayed in glass cases at the Marquette City Hall and Community Center, as well as the Depot Museum and Driftless Area Wetlands Centre.