Week 1: Clam basket

What is this? What is it made of?

What was it used for? Who would have used it?

When do you think it was made?

Clam basket















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Answers:

What is this?

This is a Native American clam basket, made by the Chehalis Tribe in Washington State.

What is it made of?

It is made of the roots of the spruce tree, gathered and held over open fires until the bark could be removed with ease and the roots split into strips and tied in bundles for future use. If the roots became dry or brittle they were soaked in cold water until pliable enough to be used.

What was it used for?

It is a food carrying basket, particularly for collecting clams, oysters, mussels and other shellfish or even fish. It would be dipped in the water to clean the shellfish.

Who would have used it?

Chehalis women from the Palix River area made these baskets and used them for gathering foods in the summer.

When do you think it was made?

This one is thought to have been made around 1870. These were known to be made during the 1800’s and early 1900’s, but they could have been made much earlier as well.