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Victorian Costuming of the Southern Sierra Miwok: 1851-1875

Abstract

Examination of late 19th century Southern Sierra Miwok costuming provides valuable insight into a post-contact Central California culture. Major shifts in clothing style and material are a visible and dynamic indicator of cultural change, sometimes associated with sociopolitical tension (Kroeber 1963: 22), although this point has been argued (Young 1937: 41). In the case of the Yosemite Miwok, the 'tension' created by contact in 1851 resulted in the replacement of buckskin skirts and breech clouts by cloth dresses and pants (Barrett and Gifford 1933: 220; Bureau of Indian Affairs 1951: 1-19; Borlase 1875: 207-211).

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