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The Miwok Tribes Arts & Crafts

Miwok Indian basket
Miwok baskets were beautiful and functional.

Imagine you are a Miwok women, sitting in a hut made of straw with a half woven basket.  The basket you are making is big and deep. It will be great for gathering . You have some grass next to you that you pick up and start weaving into the basket.  You weave and weave until your hands hurt. You have finished the basket. You start to decorate the basket with the shell beads you made yesterday. When you finish, it looks beautiful.

Crafts

The Miwok Indians made many different crafts and beautiful things.  The Miwok would make many different kinds of baskets using the natural resources like grass. The Miwok made beautiful designs on the baskets like zig zags and butterflies. They also made shell beads that they would use as money, also jewelry, and to decorate baskets.The Miwok also made paint.  The Miwok would use chalk to make white, and charcoal to make black.

The Miwok were skilled basket makers.   The Miwok made a type of basket that wasn’t like a basket but it was a basket.  It had sticks tied together at the bottom so they would form a v shape.

At the top there was a big stick in the shape of  an o. This was tied to the top of the other sticks.  This basket was called a seed beater basket, and it was used to harvest seeds.

They even made a basket that went on their back.  There was a strap that went around their head and onto the basket.  The basket was a big deep one that could hold many things like a baby.

The crafts the Miwok made weren’t just to look pretty, they helped them with their everyday lives.  The baskets held the stuff they gathered. But some stuff was made to be pretty. Like with the shell beads,  they were used as jewelry and to decorate basket.

Using The Resources

The Miwok made very nice crafts considering they didn’t have a Michael’s store down the street.  They had to go out, and find the natural resources they were going to use. I know it would be hard to weave a basket from scratch, or make paint from chalk or charcoal.  Maybe even make a shell bead. Imagine trying to weave a basket. Imagine how much effort it would take to drill a hole through a shell just to make a single bead! These were the things the women of the Miwok tribe had to do in their everyday life. If  you like basket weaving, making shell beads, or making paint, than you might like to be a Miwok Indian.

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