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Pomo Basket

Pomo baskets are made with many details and many different designs. The patterns that are weaved into them have meanings, such as a Dau. The Dau is the design that is also called the Spirit Door. This allows good spirits to come and circulate inside of the basket; the good or bad feelings are also released.

The Dau can be designed any way chosen -- there are no rules or special ways to weave the pattern into the basket. There are also three different techniques used in making Pomo baskets, which are plaiting, coiling and twining. The Dau can be a small change in the stitching or an opening between two stitches.

The materials used in making these baskets are harvested each year. Swamp canes, saguaro cactuses, rye grass, black ash, willow shoots, sedge roots and redbud are all used in the weaving of these baskets. After being picked, they are dried, cleaned, split, soaked and dyed. Sometimes the materials are boiled over a fire and then set in the sun to dry.

In the Pomo tribes both males and females are basket makers, although the styles and uses are slightly different. In general, the baskets made by the women are coiled, twined or feathered, and used for cooking and storing food. The women also make the baskets used for religious ceremonies. The men make baskets for fishing weirs, bird traps and baby baskets.

Baskets are also used for decorating the lodges.
         --Michelle, Nah Tah Wahsh PSA