Building — Nomlaki

A group of important people begin to build an assembly house long before the first tree is cut. They name every pole and rib, finding each tree and approving its use, especially the tree for the center pole. This they all must visit, examine carefully, and agree to every aspect of it. This house will be for the community, a place for feasts and celebrations, a place for sacred dances. Food must stored to feed the builders and for everyone who attends the celebration. The head man must approve. He must find that everything is ready, and know that everyone agrees. It takes a month to cut, trim the limbs, and remove the bark from every rib and pole. After they select a place to build, everyone pitches in. Important people go to the center pole, dress it like a dancer with a feathered headdress, and carry it with ceremony and songs to place it directly in the center hole. The house goes up in a day because it’s not merely a structure made of sticks and moss and earth.