AUGUST 10, 1971

MARICOPA POTTER IDA REDBIRD DIED

Born March 15, 1892, in Laveen on the Gila River Reservation where she spent almost all her life, Redbird’s pottery was known nationally.  In the 1920s, she helped preserve her people’s history and culture translating for Leslie Spier, who was researching the Yuman people living along the Gila River.  In the 1930s, she not only played a major role in the revival of Maricopa pottery, but became known for her role in raising the prices paid to the Maricopa potters.  In 1938, her fellow potters elected her as the first president of the Maricopa Pottery Makers Association.  Redbird, an articulate woman, liked to talk about her art.  She would quickly concede that fellow potter Mary Joan was the better potter and said that she (Ida) was better known only because she “talked too much.”  She was especially noteworthy since she used the paddle and anvil method of the ancient Hohokams, not the coiling method of pot making.  She died in Sacaton, Arizona, when a tree branch fell on her.

Source: “Ida Redbird,” Up/Closed.  Retrieved 7/9/2019, https://upclosed.com/people/ida-redbird/   
Photo:  Author unknown, 1950s. Courtesy of Arizona Historical Society.

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