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WHAT THE BASKET MEANS TO THE INDIAN : Page 181


Far to the North, where the cedar tree furnishes the wretched natives with practically every comfort they have, wooden cooking boxes, fashioned from

its trunk, hold the water into which hot stones are tossed when fish or blubber is to be boiled. Clothing is woven from shredded cedar bark and mats for the weaver to sit upon. But even in this desolate, poor land, an earnest striving after some expression of beauty is seen. In the most remote islands in the Aleutian chain, the Indian woman, unrewarded by applause or hope of gain, weaves exquisitely fine, dainty treasure baskets, being impelled by impulses as natural as those of a bird whose weaving is scarcely less amazing. The longes1;, hardest journey is not too wearisome to deter a squaw from going to collect rare roots and grasses or dyeing material; a lifetime is not too long to perfect herself in the handicraft bequeathed to her as a tribal trust from former generations. When vegetable fibres seem inadequate for all the beauty she fain would express, the Poma weaver in California, adds rare feathers, wampum, alabone, and sometimes bits of silver, although the finished marvel is destined for the bonfire in the death dance ceremonial. One of these exceedingly fine Poma feather baskets, which is always as valuable as a pony, was recently sold to a museum for eight hundred dollars. " Dat-so-la-lee," a Washoe weaver whose skill is probably unrivaled in any land, has recently made an intricate basket that was sold for eighteen hundred

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