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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Yaa?vya's Poro: The Singular Power Object of a Chemehuevi Shaman


During the winter of 1980-81, the Sierra Caves Task Force of the National Speleological Society was studying cavern development in the vicinity of the Providence Mountains, San Bernardino County, California. On the second day of the expedition George Luteran, a member of the task force, left camp early in the morning to investigate some of the shelter caves in the immediate vicinity. While examining one of the shelters, Luteran noted a carved wooden stick hidden in the nest of a pack rat (Neotoma lepida). Having read Carobeth Laird's The Chemehuevis (1976), Luteran immediately recognized that the object resembled the ethnographer's description of a Chemehuevi shaman's poro. The Bureau of Land Management was contacted, and on January 14, 1981, the author visited the shelter with Luteran and others.

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