This wonderful little turtle-shaped Coushatta hanging “effigy” basket is made of coiled Louisiana native pine needles sewn together with raffia. (The Coushatta are a matrilineal society native to Southwest Louisiana recognized as a sovereign nation in 1973; today most of its thousand or so members live in Elton, LA, the seat of the tribal government.) I believe this particular basket may have been made by Marjorie Abbey Battise, a member of a family of well-known basket weavers, whose left-handedness results in the “backwards” stitch that this basket displays.
The top of the turtle fits snugly to its bottom, but pulls apart to reveal the tiny interior nest-like interior basket, a brilliant secret hiding place!
Learn more about Coushatta baskets and basket makers here - http://www.knowlouisiana.org/entry/coushatta-baskets.