Crafts

Kumeyaay women made baskets and pottery. They used bone awls to weave baskets from plants, such as willow, sumac, and grass. Basket patterns often included butterflies, flowers, deer, and rattlesnakes.

The baskets served several purposes. Some were used for gifting and trading. Others were used for cooking and storing foods. Kumeyaay women used seed-beater baskets to gather seed. These baskets were small, tightly woven, and attached to a long stick. When women pushed them into seed-bearing plants, seed fell into them.

Kumeyaay women also constructed cradleboards to carry babies. Cradleboards were woven from willow and padded with eaves and grass. Women hung them from trees while working. And, they rested the cradleboards on their backs while traveling.

The Kumeyaay also made clay pottery. They found clay along riverbanks. Then, they formed pots by coiling the clay. Next, they smoothed the sides of the pots. Finally, they fired the pots to harden the clay. The finished pots were used for holding water, as well as for cooking or storing foods.

Kumeyaay material provided courtesy of ABDO Publishing Company.  Author Barbara A. Gray-Kanatiiosh, JD.  Illustrations by David Kanietakeron Fadden