The California area was rich in natural resources. The main foods included wild plants, seeds, and nuts. The people also ate grasshoppers, caterpillars, and grubs.
The California tribes were hunters and gatherers. The men fished, trapped, and hunted. The women gathered food. The me caught fish with hooks and spears. The people who lived in the coastal regions ate shellfish, dolphins, porpoises, and whales.
Acorns were used by the California tribes. They ground them into flour, then washed away the bitter acid. The flour was mixed with clean water. It was cooked over hot rocks to cook it into mush. The mush was eaten alone or mixed with berries. Sometimes it was molded into a cake and baked.
Food was scarce in the Great Basin area. Few animals lived there because it was too dry for most wild plants. The Indians moved about in small bands to search for food. They hunted antelope, birds, and deer. They also ate rats, snakes, grasshoppers, lizards, grubs, and roots.
This group of Indians feared spirits of the dead. No one spoke the name of a dead person in case the spirit might think someone was calling it back to the earth. The Indians burned a dead man's house, body, and belongings so that the ghost could not use them.
The California tribes made money by breaking shells into small rounded beads. They strung the beads in groups.
Baskets were woven so tightly that water could be carried in them. The Pomo tribe was the most skilled at weaving the baskets.
The California tribes were known for their beautiful baskets. The baskets were used as traps, tools, cradles, gifts, and storage containers. Both men and women wove the baskets using a variety of techniques and patterns. They were decorated with beads, shells, and tiny feathers.