WHAT THE BASKET MEANS TO THE INDIAN : Page 179
for its border the rattlesnake's markings conventionalized, and it is a prayer laboriously and fervently expressed, asking for protection of the
weaver's loved ones from the deadly rattler. This design, with various modifications which include the St. Andrew's cross, is especially common among the Indians in Northern California and Alaska, whose exquisite basketry, rich in symbolism, is not surpassed by any people in the world.
The acorn is a staple article of food among several tribes, but before it is fit for the human stomach it must first be boiled. How is the Indian, who has no pottery and who never saw an iron kettle, to boil her food? In California there are still to be seen a few squaws cooking in watertight baskets after the primitive method of their ancestors. Stones heated at a neighboring fire are tossed into the water until it is brought to the boiling point, and there it is kept by the addition of more hot stones until the acorns are cooked. Now all the bitterness is gone, and when dry again they are ready to be pounded into meal. The cooking basket of the Hoopa Valley Indians, for example, is a thing of beauty, with mountain peaks and flowing streams on its shapely sides. How repulsively ugly are the civilized cook's machine-made kitchen utensils compared with these hand-wrought vessels in which the Indian woman delights I With genuine artistic feeling she fashions her kettle from shreds of the red bud, mountain