Traditional Bark Collecting
The bark from this cedar tree has been pulled within the last
few years. Southeast Alaska Native gatherers pull the bark of
yellow cedar trees in the spring and summer when the sap is
To peel the bark off a tree, harvesters first cut a split 12 to 18
centimeters in width near the base of the tree with a sharp
knife. Then with a flat blade, the bark is pried up and then
pulled upward. As the bark is pulled away, it becomes narrower
at the top and is about 5 meters long. The outer bark is peeled
off and left to join the forest floor. The pungent yellow strips
are saved and dried.
The bark has many uses in basketry and weaving for ceremonial,
household, and clothing purposes. It is braided into belts,
necklaces, and ornaments, as well as strings, ropes and cords
used in hunting and fishing gear.