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

2. Gathering Wild Foods (Pages 146-151)

2. Gathering Wild Foods (Pages 146)
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2. Gathering Wild Foods
(Conversation between Rose Watt and Emma Lord)

RW: (1) How did they collect this, that the white people call mushroom? Do you know?
EL: (2) Yes, we used to eat it, we used to gather it, my boss and I, we used to gather it a long time ago, long ago, (3) three years passed; (4) that was tasty for us to eat, those on the ground that were for gathering this way, that little kind, little short small mushrooms, little bitty ones, we used to wash them and boil them.
RW: (5) Those fungi called /haha•ja?/, I guess. That was really tasty, it seems.
EL: (6) That was tasty.
RW: (7) And these that we used to call "little cry-babies."
EL: (8) Those "cry-babies" are different too, they taste good too.
RW: (9) What's that kind that comes out by the creek?

2. Gathering Wild Foods (Pages 148)
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EL:} (10) They call it /lapŋa?/.

EL: (11) Yes, that fungus is very good, yes, all of them are edible.
RW: (12) And then what about the little white ones, what are they, /put•us/ maybe.
EL: (13) Those fungi are little round things, they're nice to eat too, all those things.
RW: (14) And this, it belongs in the mountains, what is it, in the Ponderosa pines, what is the name of that one?
EL: (15) What is it . . .
RW: (16) Long ago we used to gather it, it seems to me.
EL: (17) Little /hel•i?/ mushrooms.
RW: (18) Maybe that's it.
EL: (19) Those mushrooms are good too, cut up and boiled, very tasty, you eat them with acorn mush.
RW: (20) One ate that, long ago, one used to eat it.
EL: (21) It was the Indians' food, long ago.
RW: (22) Nowadays one doesn't do that very much, gather things.
EL: (23) Not very much now, the young people have changed.
RW: (24) It's been forgotten.
EL: (25) All forgotten, they got too lazy to bother.
RW: (26) We used to eat all these things, long ago; our old folks used to gather all this. Sour clover.
EL: (27) Yes, all this is very tasty, one rubbed it between one's hands and then ate it with acorn mush, it tastes good.
RW: (28) And all these sourberries.
EL: (29) Yes, sourberries too.
RW: (30) Seems like they aren't eaten any more.
EL: (31) Ha! They've got scared of the sourness of them.
RW: (32) They're really ripe now, aren't they, they make you want to pick them.
EL: (33) Very good, you pound them; hey, that really tastes good, (34) you make it juicy and drink it.
RW: (35) It's nice and sour.
EL: (36) Yes, it's a bit sour, it's good for the heart.
RW: (37) And then this, the bush of that same sourberry is also good for making cradle-baskets, isn't it.
EL: (38) That's very good for making cradles, you make the sunshade with that.
RW: (39) How is that done, gathering it, to begin with? Young [limbs] are picked.

2. Gathering Wild Foods (Pages 150)
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EL: (40) Young [limbs] are picked, I don't know what month they pick them, in the wintertime when there aren't any leaves.
RW: (41) Then what is done next, it's peeled?
EL: (42) Yes, it's peeled with a small knife, it's skinned, this thing-umibob; ts skin, that's what I mean, it comes off, just the white part is saved, the little ones, little tree shoots, that's made into the main part of the cradle, the shade part, everything; you make the sunshade with that.
RW: (43) First the big ones are picked, to make this little bed, this cradle, isn't that right.
EL: (44) Yes, it's all one size. And then, and this, it can be made if desired, and it can be made of this thingummy, whatever it is cooking—baskets are made of—of roots, and then, and this, and you skin the what's it, something or other, little white oak sprouts.
RW: (45) That's another kind of tree, that the Indians used for making [baskets] long ago.
EL: (46) Yes.
RW: (47) And then, and then it is made into the little bed, it's twined, isn't it.
EL: (48) It's twined with that.
RW: (49) It's done first.
EL: (50) With that.
RW: (51) And then, they used to make it, lengthening it, making the sunshade last.
EL: (52) It was made last.
RW: (53) From its little foot.
EL: (54) It's started from its little foot.
RW: (55) Its shade is made.
EL: (56) The shade, right here, its sunshade.
RW: (57) Then it will be decorated, it will be made pretty.
EL: (58) One will decorate it with that, with little things, with little pretty things, with little colored things, this something, with fine yarn.
RW: (59) They are different, it seems like, for a little boy, the design for the sunshade, isn't it.
EL: (60) Yes, there are several different kinds.
RW: (61) But a different kind for girls.
EL: (62) Yes, it's different too; that's how the makers do it.
RW: (63) Now not at all any more, they don't do that, it isn't done that way for babies now, it seems like they quit using this cradle basket.
EL: (64) Yes, everybody threw it away recently, maybe soon nobody will make them any more, it's forgotten.

3. Wild Foods (Pages 152)
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RW: (65) And it's the same thing with making cooking baskets, it's done the same way almost.
EL: (66) And that, it's disappearing, not very many make them now, the young girls have forgotten it.
RW: (67) That's what you make it with, isn't it, with bunch-grass.
EL: (68) One makes it with bunch-grass, you go around with bunchgrass, around and around, you sort of sew it with that root, first piercing it with this thingummy, with the awl.
RW: (69) You weave it.
EL: (70) You weave it with that, with a deer-bone, after you make it narrow.
RW: (71) That awl.
EL: (72) Her awl, that's her needle.
RW: (73) It's started very tiny.
EL: (74) It's started very small, you keep on going, going, going, until it's to where it's wanted, then you quit.
RW: (75) A very long time until it will be finished.
EL: (76) Very long.
RW: (77) After a long time?
EL: (78) After a long time, don't know how many years, taking a month to finish.

Next: Wild FoodsContentsPrevious: Collecting Basketry Materials

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