HIlger describing net materials
Originally published in 1951 by the Smithsonian Institution Bureau of American Ethnology as Bulletin 146.
A Red Lake informant, a professional net maker, in making nets used cord made from the inner bark of the basswood. (Some women used nettles.) The bark, torn into fine strands, was boiled for about one-half hour, and while still soft rolled over the bare side of the right leg with the palm of the right hand. If fibers become dry, they are drawn through the mouth to be moistened with saliva. No knots were made in joining strands but the ends of two strands were worked between molars and deftly rolled into each other with fingers. Men who assisted rolled cord above the knee. One old Red Lake informant's great-grandmother made cords for fish nets by boiling nettles, drying them, separating them into fibers, dampening them by drawing them through the mouth, and then rolling them on her leg. "This made fine cord for nets. She used to have balls of it ready for use. That was long, long ago." While rolling basswood fiber women squatted on the ground.
Sister M. Inez Hilger, Chippewa Child Life and Its Cultural Background (St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 1992) 125.