Longhouse - Cooking Area

Mats

Cedar mats were invaluable to the Stó:lō people. The weave of the mat ranged from 5 to 20 millimetres, depending on the softness needed for the intended purpose of the product. Families had several mats of different weaves for their own use. Mats could be placed on the walls or roof of the longhouse to keep the cold and rain out, and were hung in doorways to prevent drafts. Some of the daily activities that required the mats were drying berries, cleaning fish, and clam digging. The mats were even used as protective pads when carrying heavy loads. People were birthed on and buried in cedar mats. Small mats covered cooking and storage containers. Once the Stó:lō people saw sailing ships, canoes were equipped with large mats hung from a mast for propulsion.

Mats also played ceremonial roles and had significance in different social situations. Screens were made from mats for utilitarian purposes of privacy, but also to provide a background for ceremonial events. Great feasts had guests eating, sitting, gambling and sleeping on mats.

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