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WHAT THE BASKET MEANS TO THE INDIAN : Page 173


How can water be carried in a basket? one may well ask. Strangely enough, the tribes living in the arid Southwest, where every drop of water is exceedingly precious, are the very ones which chiefly trust to basket water-carriers. No danger of the pitcher breaking at an Indian well. The Pai Utes, who make water-jars for their own use, and to barter for blankets with the Navajo, weave them of willow strippings and coat them with gum from the pinon pine. Many baskets made by various tribes are tightly enough woven,

however, to hold water even without a gum coat The bottom of the wicker water-bottle, made by the Havasupais in Cataract Canon, Arizona, tapers to a point, which the Indian sticks into the ground to prevent the bottle from overturning. Handles of braided horsehair, which never break, confine the leather strap by which the squaw suspends the bottle from her head or her pony's saddle. Such bottles may be made to contain a pint or several gallons of water.

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