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WHAT THE BASKET MEANS TO THE INDIAN : Page 177


To interpret Indian symbols without the help of the squaw who worked them out of her own inner consciousness, to get at the thought of the individual weaver, taking into due consideration the mental idiosyncrasies of her tribe, as one must do before the decoration can be rightly understood, is an exceedingly difficult task which the enthusiast with a lively imagination would better leave to the scientific investigator. But no student of races, of the evolution of art, of folk-lore or of comparative religions, can afford to neglect the Indian basket. And the study cannot begin too soon, for basketry has either deteriorated sadly wherever the white people's civilization has penetrated, or it has totally disappeared. In one small collection of meal plaques alone are found three whose decorations tell of the creation of the world according to the

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