Karok (American Indians Ready Reference)
The Karok Indians occupied the northwestern corner of California. They subsisted by fishing, hunting, and gathering; tobacco was the only plant cultivated. The Karok used nets, harpoons, and clubs to catch salmon and other fish. Tribesmen used dogs, decoys, bows and arrows, and snares to hunt large animals such as deer and elk. Surplus meat was dried on scaffolds for winter use. Acorns, bulbs, seeds, and nuts were gathered and ground into flour.
Rectangular, semi-subterranean, single-family homes were constructed with cedar planks; they had small low doorways and stone porches. Men wore buckskin breechclouts or went naked; women wore deerskin skirts. Both wore fur capes and snowshoes during the winter.
The Karok placed great importance on acquiring and retaining wealth. Riches were in the form of shells, obsidian blades, and woodpecker scalps. The wealthiest person in the group also held the most respect and prestige. Dances were performed to ensure good fishing and hunting, as well as to cure sick children. These ceremonies included displays of wealth and religious rites performed by priests. Everyday life was filled with taboos, and rituals were performed regularly to fend off illness and bad luck. Shamans were usually women, who used herbal medicines or...
(The entire section is 339 words.)
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