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Native Americans
Native American Baskets



Native American Baskets
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 4 to 6
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   6.55

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    antique, prickly, archaeologists, saliva, pliable, legend, purpose, unique, sacred, meaning, funnel, spiritual, beginning, artists, tribe, fell
     content words:    Native American, Native Americans, Ojibwe Indians, Navajo Indians, Most Navajo


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Native American Baskets
By Colleen Messina
  

1     Basket weaving is one of the oldest Native American crafts. Archaeologists have found ancient baskets that were almost 8,000 years old. Each tribe made baskets from the materials that they found around them. Each tribe had its own unique weaving techniques, basket shapes, and patterns, too.
 
2     Baskets were even a part of Native American legends. In the beginning of time, the very first man lived in a forest of pine trees with his wife. One day, an old woman came to greet them. She called herself the basket woman, and she said that she was the mother of the stars. Her name was Moon. She had some special gifts for this couple. Basket woman taught the man and the woman games and ceremonies, as well as sacred songs. Perhaps this legend is one reason that basket weaving is thought of as a spiritual craft.
 
3     Baskets were practical and necessary in Indian life. You might be surprised at how many things a basket could help the Indians do. They used their baskets to catch fish, store food, and to carry items or clothing. Native Americans could even cook in a basket! They filled the basket with water and then dropped hot rocks inside. They kept the rocks moving so that they did not burn the basket. They also made porridges out of acorns or fruit in baskets, too. Baskets led to the invention of pottery. Archaeologists believe that the first pottery came from a basket lined with clay that fell in the fire. The basket burned away and left a hard, clay pot in its place.

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