Patlapa, otherwise known as the basket hat. The Patlapa was worn by the Native American women of the Mid-Columbia area. Mostly worn for ceremonial purposes, such as the root, salmon and huckleberry feasts.
The preferred fibers for twining the patlapa was cornhusk, along with Bear Grass and Indian Hemp which was found along the damp river sides and streams. The tedious job of of gathering the natural fibers, depending on the season, was well worth the effort. This process gave the maker a variety of colors.
Although the form of the Patlapa remains the same, beads along with new dyes and fibers such as yarn and processed hemp, free the maker of gathering and the natural dye process while increasing the variation in patterns and colors.
Patlapas that exist today give evidence that much pride was taken in their creation. Today, most are prized family possessions and priceless heirlooms.
Dentalium is a mollusk-shaped shell. There are several types inhabiting the waters off the Pacific Coast. The type that was very important to the Native people of the Mid-Columbia region were white with a smooth surface, and range in size. The Mid-Columbia Natives used Dentalium as ear and nose ornaments, necklaces and bracelets. Dresses and robes were decorated with them, along with entire bridal veils.
Aside from being a means of decoration and personal adornment, Dentalium was used as a highly priced trade item. Its monetary value was related to the size.
Today's Dentalium is usually manufactured with ridges and has a gritty feel. Although the contemporary style is still beautiful, there is no comparison to the "old style."
Shaptakai is the Sahaptin name for the Indian suitcase. Also known as the Parfleche, and is a valued and fairly common possession of many Columbia Plateau people. They have been used throughout history for storage, packing and trading.
Shaptakai is made with rawhide which has been soaked in water to soften and folded to the desired shape and size, then dried. The Columbia Plateau Shaptakai is primarily folded into a rectangular shape and painted with natural dyes.
Wampum are cylindrical beads carved from polished bones or deer or elk antlers. They were once used by the Mid-Columbia Native Americans as currency and jewelry.
Today, Wampum is used and made into necklaces as a valuable trade item and is worn with Native regalia.