Winter Settlement Patterns of the Takelma
In the winter the Takelma moved down into the valley along the Rogue River and lived in semi-permanent rectangular structures covered in split sugar pine planks or bark slabs. Wooden steps, cut into a pole or a small log leaning inside the doorway, led down into the structure. The floors were made of packed dirt. The interior consisted of a ring of space around the inside at ground level, with an excavated pit area in the middle having a central fire hearth; the upper level formed a “shelf,” which served as a place to store baskets, wooden boxes, and other items. Reserves of food and supplies were suspended from the ceiling in order to keep them away from pests and allow them to remain dry with good air circulation (Beckham 1993), (Sapir 1907b).
Beckham, Stephen Dow
- 1993 Takelman and Athpascan Lifeways and History, Rogue River Corridor-Applegate River to Grave Creek: Investigations for Interpretive Programs. Eugene, Oregon: DOI Bureau of Land Management, Medford District Office.
- 1907a Religious Ideas of the Takelma Indians of Southwestern Oregon. Journal of American Folk-Lore 20:33-49.
Takelma creation story with two dragonfly brothers
Trickster character in many stories
During the cold winter months, the Takelma often kept a fire going and, traditionally, the elders would tell the stories of their ancestors to the younger members of the village. In this way, their history, as well as the cultural beliefs of their people, was passed down from generation to generation. The Takelma women had time to weave and repair baskets. Men repaired hunting tools and made new ones. During these cold months, the Takelma also used their sweat houses, the men sometimes spending most of their time there, teaching various skills to their sons. Each village generally had a men's sweat house and sometimes a sweat house for women.