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The Southern Sierra Miwok Language (1964), by Sylvia M. Broadbent

1. Collecting Basketry Materials (Pages 142-145)


1. Collecting Basketry Materials (Page 142)
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1. Collecting Basketry Materials
(Conversation between Rose Watt and Lizzie Graham)

RW: (1) Long ago, how did the Indians gather roots? Do you know what they did?
LG: (2) Yes, I know. (3) They would dig in the hard ground with a digging stick. (4) It was difficult, but they did it, they kept at it and got the roots out.
RW: (5) With a digging stick.
LG: (6) With a digging stick.
RW: (7) They dug the ground.
LG: (8) They dug the ground.
RW: (9) What kind of roots would that be? They chose good long ones, long ago.
LG: (10) Long ago they chose good roots, they chose long ones. (11) They would be very white inside.
RW: (12) Then next, gathering roots—how did they do it? (13) They would break them off.
LG: (14) They would break them off; they would dig them out, following them with the digging stick, then they would stop there and break them off.
RW: (15) Then next they would gather them together when they were finished.
LG: (16) They would gather them together, and go to dig out another one. (17) They would gather up the roots and tie them up.
RW: (18) Then there would be a lot.
LG: (19) There would be a lot.
RW: (20) Maybe it would take a little while.
LG: (21) It would take quite a while for there to be many; in this way, they prepared long ones.
RW: (22) Then next, when they were finished, they would eat lunch.
LG: (23) They'd eat their lunch, when they got hungry.
RW: (24) And they would do the same thing after lunch, next.
LG: (25) After lunch, they'd do it fast, right away, because they would walk a long way going home.

1. Collecting Basketry Materials (Page 144)
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RW: (26) Then next, they'd go home, having finished.
LG: (27) Yes.
RW: (28) Next, what would they do with those roots, (29) to make a cooking-basket?
LG: (30) Next, they would skin the roots with a stick, they would skin them at night. (31) All next day they would dry in the sun. (32) White (outside?), when it was skinned. (33) They would do that with a stick.
RW: (34) Yes.
LG: (35) They would pull it across a stick.
RW: (36) Then next, what did they do? (37) Next .
LG: (38) Then they dry it.
RW: (39) Then they dry it.
LG: (40) After they dry it, next, after a while it gets dry; after it sat for a day, then it's dry, the next day they would coil it up.
RW: (41) Then, next, they fix it so they can make it.
LG: (42) A bit later.
RW: (43) Another day.
LG: (44) Another day.
RW: (45) Next, what is done here, the roots, they get quartered in being prepared.
LG: (46) Some quarter them, some split them in two (47) to make bigger baskets. (48) I split them in three to make small baskets, I do.
RW: (49) Then it turns out just right.
LG: (50) That's it, they go evenly.
RW: (51) Next you start out small, with an awl.
LG: (52) It's started, small, with an awl.
RW: (53) You're weaving.
LG: (54) I'm weaving.
RW: (55) Next, every day it will grow.
LG: (56) In a day, one round; I go around once.
RW: (57) The next day.
LG: (58) The next day again.
RW: (59) Until it gets big.
LG: (60) Until it gets big. (61) I've got to pull it; (62) my roots I have to pull, everything, my fern I have to pull. (63) Sometimes my bone awl gets broken.
RW: (64) Then, there's our bunch-grass, it's not . . .
LG: (65) That too, bunch-grass.
RW: (66) That gets prepared too.
LG: (67) It's scraped on a stick (to make it smooth).

2. Gathering Wild Foods (Pages 146)
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RW: (68) All that is prepared to make a basket.
LG: (69) That basket she makes with bunch-grass.
RW: (70) Then what will she do, designs will have to be put on, won't they, to make it pretty.
LG: (71) I put designs thus far from the edge, other people put designs from the bottom.
RW: (72) With black.
LG: (73) With black.
RW: (74) What's that black one's name?
LG: (75) Maidenhair fern.
RW: (76) Maidenhair fern.
LG: (77) Yes. (78) Others use the red along with it.
RW: (79) Finally, she’ll finish that basket.
LG: (80) Later.
RW: (81) Next, what will she do with the top, to finish it?
LG: (82) She’ll sew it, when she breaks off the bunch-grass.
RW: (83) With another one.
LG: (84) She breaks the bunch-grass, then finishes it, really gets it done, and she sews it on top.
RW: (85) With that same root, isn't it.
LG: (86) With that same root.

Next: Gathering Wild FoodsContentsPrevious: Page 139

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Online Library: Title Author California Geology History Indians Muir Mountaineering Nature Management