On the Northwest Coast, cooks could produce soups and stews in tightly woven baskets.... How? Plant fibers swell when wet, and make the cooking basket watertight.

Take one cooking basket:
  • add water
  • add vegetables, dried meat, clams, fish
  • use tongs to add fire-heated stones to the water
  • remove cool stones, add hot ones until food is cooked


Food gathering was critical to life, and baskets for gathering often were uniquely designed.

Storage baskets were employed once food was preserved and mashed for; salal-berry cakes, baked camas and bitterroots. Storage baskets were also used for dried and pounded salmon.

So the gatherers could rinse off the sand in the sea, traditional clam baskets were woven in openwork. Berry baskets were made to hang from the picker's waist, so that the hands were free. For firewood, burden baskets were worn like backpacks for carrying heavy loads.


Traditional use of particular basketry items is used for ceremonies, and to be given as gifts. In these ways, baskets are symbols of cultural identity.
In Alaska, high-ranking Tlingit, Tsimshian and Haida people wear basketry hats painted with crest designs. Wealth and status were symbolized by the woven rings on top of these hats. Baskets at wedding ceremonies were used by Columbia Plateau people; exchanging baskets filled with roots. In the Southwest, Hopi women fabricate flat basketry plaques as ceremonial gifts. In California, Hupa Weavers make baskets for World Renewal ceremonies that ensure the well-being of the community.


In days of old, and presently; baskets are used for gathering berries, clams, and are utilized for daily use in the kitchen. The hats are used as rainhats or sun shades.
Cedar Bark Weaving (click on for more info)

Phone number (907) 957-9589

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