In providing a broad overview of the hundreds of distinct American Indian cultures found in North America, it is common for museums, historians, archaeologists, and ethnologists to use a culture area model. This model is based on the observation that different groups of people living in the same geographic area often share many cultural features.
The California culture area has the widest variety of native languages, ecological settings, and house types of any North American culture area. The California culture area is often divided into several sub-areas: (1) northwestern California, (2) northeastern California, (3) central California, (5) Great Basin, (5) southern California, and (6) the Colorado River area.
Shown below are some of the California Culture Area displays in the Maryhill Museum of Art.
According to the display in the Maryhill Museum of Art:
“Basketry was an important art throughout California. The Pomo of the central region were particularly well known for their skill in making a variety of basket styles. Sone, feathers, leather, and shells were used extensively in specific regions of California.”
Shown bellow are the displays of California basketry.
Many museums, including the Maryhill Museum of Art near Goldendale, Washington, have displays of Mission Baskets. The designation “Mission Baskets” was developed by anthropologist Alfred Kroeber in 1922.
According to the Maryhill Museum display:
“Basketry from most of southern California has traditionally been grouped together under the name Mission. This term was used because the native people of southern California came under the influence of Catholic missionaries at a very early date.”