The Hunter and hunting

The hunter got ready for the hunt by stringing himself with the leaves and hairs of the plants called nettles. The Indians rubbed his body, including his eyelids, with the leaves. This was a ceremony and it caused pain. The hunter believed it would make him brave in his hunt. He thought it would also bring him success in killing the animals he was hunting. The hunter thought that this would give him clearer eyesight and would make him more watchful. All of the time the hunter was away from his village looking for game, he never ate. It also kept the smell of strange foods and smoke from the hunting area. The hunter kept sights, sounds, and smells which would frighten game from the hunting ground. A hunter was cleaver and imitated a grazing deer.  He wanted to make a kill with is first arrow. He would wear the head and parts of the deer hide already killed, this way he could get close to a deer. He would rub two sticks together to imitate the sounds deer make when they rub their antlers, horns, against trees or bushes. The hunter than gave it to the women to be skinned and prepared for eating.  A Gabrieleno hunter belief was not to eat his own kill that it would bring him bad luck in his hunting skills.

Acorn gathering and storage

The hills of California were covered with many varieties of oak trees. These trees produced tons of acorns each year. This huge crop provided the Gabrielenos with one of their most important foods. The acorn were harvested in the fall. The men would climb the trees shake them for the acorns to fall and the children and women would gather them and place them in a cone-shaped basket.  They were placed out to dry and then put into a granary. The acorn themselves could not be eaten they had a bitter taste from an acid in the acorn called tannin. So they made a acorn meal. They hit the acorn with a stone to remove the shell, then pounded the kernels into a mortar with a stone pestle to make a acorn meal. Preparing the much, the grounded meal was placed into a basket the did not hold water, hot water was poured over the meal over and over, this washed out the bitter tannin. When the meal was cleaned it turned into a wad of dough. It was brushed off and ready to cook into much or flat cakes. it was eaten plain or mixed with other foods for better flavoring. 

"Tiat"  Plank Canoe

The Gabrielenos and some neighboring tribes made plank canoes. They were called Tiat's. They used pine trees and driftwood. The logs were split into planks. They used whale, deer antlers, sharp objects and stones to wedge and cut to size. The more coarse stone were used like sandpaper. To shape the planks the wood was buried in wet sand, then fires were built on top of the sand to dry them. Rope and plant fibers tied together held the boards in place. Holes and cracks were filled with tar. This made them strong and as watertight as possible. But because they were not completely leakproof they would take a young boy with them to bail out the water. Depending on the size, a tiat could carry from 3 to 20 people. The tiat were long and narrow with high sides and between twelve and sixteen feet in length. They were rowed with double- bladed paddles attached to ten-foot handles. The rowers paddled together usually singing and chanting.

 The Tule Homes " Kies"

The houses of the Gabrieleno Indians were called Kies. They were made of a framework of bent willow branches. These branches were buried in the ground in a circle, then bent at the tops of the poles together and tied with yucca fiber. A smoke hole at the very top was left open for when they did cooking or heating inside the kie. Then branches around the outside made a circle frame and then covered the outside with tule. The tules was woven thick and tight keeping it dry during the raining season and cool during the summer. The doors to enter faced the north opposite of the wind and keeping the sun shine from entering into the house. If the door was not covered with skins or mattes they were ready for company. When family was away the door was covered and staked with whale bones and sticks. Each clan (family) could have between 500 - 1500 kies in their village. A kie was burned when it got dirty, damaged or if someone important living in the kie died in it. After a old kie was burned a new one was built.


1 The trinket basket is small and round like a oval ball, with a small opening on top. In this basket is were they would put their treasures and money for safe keeping..

2. The cradleboard was closely woven of tule weeds. In it the mother could carry the baby comfortably on her back.

3. The canteen basket was closely woven very tight and sealed with tar. its small mouth is much like our canteens today.

4. The winnowing basket was made of twigs. It was used to separate leaves and stems from grain.

5. The cooking basket , this basket was set over motar rocks, there was no bottom. Acorn meal could be ground and collected on the side of the basket.

6. The parching basket more like a tray, was used for coals and seeds. The coals and seeds were kept in continous motion to cook the seeds. this way the basket would not burn.


The men and children of this area wore very little clothing. The men wore around their waiste deerskin. Women wore skirts of two aprons one of deer and ottter and the other of tule,grasses and soft bark. In the winter they added capes which were rabbit, deer, otter, coyote or squirrels skins all sewed together. They were bare foot most of the time , but when needed for very long trips or when picking certian fruits and plants they wore footpads or sandeles made of yucca fiber. Earrings, necklaces and bracelets were wore by women and men. They were made from whale's teeth, beads, stones, shells and feathers. During special occassions and cerrmonies they would get a little more elaborate with stringed plants and flowers. The rest of their bodies sometimes were covered in paint.


For tools animals parts, plants, trees, stones and shells from the area were used. Each material was used for it's strength, sharpness and flexibility. If it was hard, strong, and fireproof it could be used for making cooking items if was sharp or chipped it could be used to make tools and weapons. Wood was also carved and specially shaped for handles, paddles, spoons and arrows. Plants were flexible and strong they were used for tieing and made into string, which was able to be wooven into basket and nets.