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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Use of Tui Chub as Food by Indians of the Western Great Basin

  • Author(s): Raymond, Anan W
  • Sobel, Elizabeth
  • et al.

On the following pages we explore the harvesting and processing of tui chub by aboriginal people in the western Great Basin. Existing archaeological, ethnographic, and biological data identify the most common method of tui chub acquisition, processing, and consumption. The data guide 12 experiments where we document the effort required to harvest and initially process tui chub for food. We calculate the number of food calories returned per hour of fishing and processing effort. The experiments help rank tui chub relative to other food resources in the Great Basin (cf. Simms 1984). However, we make no assertions about optimal foraging behavior of Great Basin aboriginal people. Rather, we simply demonstrate that tui chub are an abundant, easily harvested resource that provides high calories and protein with relatively little effort. And the Indians of the western Great Basin took advantage of this.

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