Gabrielino Basketry



Have you seen beautiful Gabrielino Indian baskets? I don’t know about you, but I have and they are truly amazing and beautiful indeed. There is one very rare material that they used very, very often. They also had many different uses for the baskets. They had beautiful patterns and colors all over the baskets. The women made them so the kids could watch and learn how to do them.They only taught the basketry weaving techniques to the little girls when they are about five or six years old. Four and below is way too early to start teaching them and it won’t get stuck in their brain. They would start being professionals when they are 18 years old.


The Four Main Baskets and Juncus

The Gabrielino had many different materials, but the most important material they used is Juncus. About half of the basket was made of Juncus. Juncus is a plant that grows near a river and when ripe it turns blackish grayish. They also had many different baskets, but four main baskets they used are Wicker, Saw Brush, White Sage, and Chia Baskets. These are the materials they used for Wicker baskets was willow, wood, cedar bark, swamp grass, and juncus. These are the materials they used for Saw Brush baskets was sugar grass, sumac, black-eyed juncus, and juncus. Theses are the materials they used for White Sage baskets was purple sage, deer grass, yarrow, yucca, and juncus.Theses are the materials they used for Chia baskets was thin strips of bark, muswuti, duegrops, maneanita, and juncus. They used each basket for different things. The juncus was very important when making baskets, and that doesn’t mean that the other materials aren’t important also.

Why They are so Important

What is very important to them is making plates, trays, out of baskets and storing food and ceremonies with the baskets. Another thing that is very important to them is when someone dies they put the dead body or ashes on the basket of there favorite colors for instance like for a women they put blue and purple and for a man they put beige and orange and put the man or women in the lake or river to show respect to the person who died. A very important celebration is when two people get married they use baskets of their favorite colors and put it over the couple to celebrate. When there is a baby they put the baby in the basket to show appreciation to the newborn child. They also used baskets to tell stories to teach each child a life lesson so they can tell the story to their kids so they can learn a very important life lesson


The Patterns and Colors of the Baskets

The patterns on the baskets were swirls, zigzags, geometric shapes, flowers, polka dots, circles, diamonds, shapes, checkerboard, electric lines, and lines, patterns of people, patterns of animals, and plants and other things too. The patterns used for many beautiful pieces of art work. They used all different types of colors such as blue, black, red, yellow, beige, orange, purple, and brown and other basic colors,but not dull colors. They made the the color strips by painting the materials such as juncus so it would look pretty and not dull and boring. They made the paint by smashing the material with rocks and that made all different types of colors.

The Uses of the Baskets

The only thing that the women did besides making dinner and other things that they did was that they made baskets while the men were busy hunting, dancing, singing chants , eating and telling stories and other things that men do and other things men do in general. On the other hand all of the different women from other families came to their hut or house and did the baskets together as friends. One women would make one for another person and so on. The different that were things very useful like waterproofing things, used for hats, skirts, shoes, like sandals, bowls, and food storage to keep them from getting ruined or old and spoiled. Other things that were useful religious, medicinal things, basketry, using soap, food sources, help carry the wood,
and a source of twine and rope.

All different tribes made baskets to and you can see some in museums and you can see them for yourself. There are lots of different types of baskets also. The Gabrielino had more tools than just baskets. One of the main ideas is that baskets are the most important tool the Gabrielino have in their culture and in their life span. Just because juncus is important that doesn’t mean that for instance cedar bark isn’t important too. I got most of my information from http://www.native-languages.org/baskets.htm In conclusion the baskets are just beautiful, helpful, and gorgeous and thank you for reading.


By Callie

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