Collection: Wokas

Wokas A Primitive Food of the Klamath Indians

One of the plants growing abundantly in the Klamath Marsh and less extensively in some of the bays of the Klamath Lake, the great yellow water lily (Nymphaea polysepala), was a staple farinaceous food of the Klamaths in primitive times and now is regarded by them as a delicacy. An opportunity presented itself for Frederick Coleville to spend a week at Klamath Marsh in August, 1902, and to see the Indians harvest their crop of wok’s (makes), or waterlily seed. The industry was well preserved in so nearly its primitive form that he made a detailed record of it, and we present it as an example of a Native tribe using the natural growing indigenous plants in its region as a crop to feed its people.

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