Wokas

Coville, Frederick Vernon, Honorary Curator, Division of Plants. Wokas A Primitive Food of the Klamath Indians. From the Report of the United States National Museum for 1902, pages 725-739 with 13 plates. Washington: Government Printing Office. 1904.

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.

Spokwas

The basketful of spokwas as it is brought from the boat is emptied into a pit dug in the ground for the purpose, to which each successive day’s harvest of spokwas is added. The disintegrating pods undergo some process of fermentation, which changes them into a mucilaginous liquid mass having the texture of a thin …

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Lolensh

Fresh wokas seeds, in which the kernels are still moist, are in the condition necessary for manufacture into what is called lolensh (lo-lensh’). This condition exists in spokwas and in the two grades of seeds, nokapk and chiniakuni, derived from cooked pods, or away described below. The dried seeds, lowed and stontablaks, can not be …

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Klamath Names Connected with the Wokas Industry

The Wokas Plant, its Parts, and its Products A’-wal, roasted pods. Bal’-bal-wam, leaf. Chin-i’-a-kûm, immature seeds, constituting the fifth grade. Di-䔑chäs’, a process of extracting seeds from roasted pods. Ga’-i-dan’, rootstock. Gam’-bol-wos, flower hold. Ka-kal’-ga’-li, pod. Kakt-chi’-as, screenings from the diachas process. Kai’-a-kams, said to be an old name for chiniakum. Lo-lensh, shelled seeds, not …

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Awal

When seeds are required to be extracted from freshly gathered pods, either to furnish an immediate food supply, or to secure material for the preparation of shnaps or because the wokas gatherer is nearing the end of his harvest and can not wait for the pods to dry, a process of cooking or steaming the …

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