Native American Photographs by Edward S. Curtis

Klamath Indians

Klamath Indian Photos by Edward S. Curtis

Tribal Summary

Dress

In warm weather and about the house, men and women wore nothing but a strip of skin or woven mies about the loins. For protection they had moccasins, short leggings, and robes, which were of skin or of tules. The hair of both sexes usually hung in two fur wrapped braids, most adults had the nasal septum pierced for the wearing of dentalium ornaments, and many women and a few men wore ear-pendants. The heads of all infants were flattened by pressure.

Dwellings

The winter house was a conical roof of timbers, tules, grass, and earth, erected over a circular excavation. The entrance and the smoke-vent were an opening at the peak. The summer house had an elliptical or a rectangular framework of willow poles set into the ground and lashed at the top to a ridge-pole, and the steep sides were thatched from the peak to the ground with three layers of grass and tule mats. The dance-house was similarly shaped, but the covering was slabs of bark. The sweat-house was semi-subterranean, and the sloping roof was thatched with grass, tules, and earth. This has been superseded by the In both cases steam is generated by pouring water on heated stones.

Foods

The principal food was wokas, the seeds of the yellow water-lily, which were parched and eaten dry or with a covering of cold water, or were boiled into mush in cooking baskets. Other vegetal foods were camas, Calochonus, roots of tule and cattail and of numerous other plants not identified; seeds of sunflowers, sage, tumbleweeds, wild rye, and “redtop”, chokecherries, grapes, huckleberries, plums, service-berries, “swamp-berries”, new shoots of the triangular tule, pine lichens, pine-bast, hazelnuts, and pine-nuts. Fish and waterfowl were abundant, and practically all the animals indigenous to the region were used for food.

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