Hunting and Gathering


MAIDU OBSIDIAN KNIFE (above). Flaked obsidian point fastened into a handle of wood made of two pieces tied together and further secured by means of pitch; approx. 5 – 6" long.


Maidu stone knife


Maidu/Miwok bow of mountain mahogany, braided sinew bowstring, 36 - 40" long.


ACORN DOUGH CARRIER. (Maidu). Used to transport acorn dough, and once used was discarded. Made of a netting of maple bark with maple leaves layered between; approx. 15" diameter




The men used a variety of tools to hunt and trap their prey. Bows, arrows and spears were used to kill deer, antelope and elk. The bows were three or four feet long. Their strings were made from plant fibers or animals tendons. The arrows and spears were made from a hard wood, such as the elderberry because its branches were very straight. A sharp point was attached to the tip of the arrow which was carved from wood , bone, antler, or rock such as obsidian.

To catch small animals such as rabbits, squirrels and rodents, they used nets made of grass fibers, traps, spears, clubs and knives. Fire was used to smoke ground animals out of their tunnel homes by fanning smoke with a feather into their hole. This made the animals come running out so they could be killed.

Nets were also used for trapping birds. The nets were spread across rivers so that birds would get caught in them as they flew. Sometimes hunters stuffed a dead goose or duck with tules to fool and attract live ducks. Once trapped the hunters could catch them.

Fish was another main source of food. Fishermen used spears, basket traps, snares, and nets to catch fish. When the men fished from the shore they used nets. The fishermen would drag the nets through the water and trap the fish. They also built basket traps from tule to catch salmon. These traps were cone shaped and acted like a funnel. The fish would swim into the large end of the trap and would be funneled into the waiting hands of the fishermen.


SEED BEATER - This seed beater, belonging to the Maidu tribe, is made out of buck brush. The beater was used to knock seeds from the tops of grasses into the burden basket. (Miwok, Western Mono, Maidu). Twined of willow and redbud, approx. 12 - 16" long.


back button
home button
next button