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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Counterfeiters and Shell Currency Manipulators Among California Indians


One of the features of native life in California which persisted well into the time after the native societies had been practically destroyed by the successive occupations by Spain and the United States was the manufacture and use of shell bead money. Perhaps Indians continued to preserve these old customs because they were largely deprived of the opportunities for gainful employment, and through being largely excluded from the new economic system, they continued to value their old currency because it was still valuable.

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