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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Achumawi Sketches


Jaime de Angulo (1886-1950) contributed a number of important early papers to the field of California ethnology. At the urging of two close friends, Franz Boas and Paul Radin, de Angulo formally began his academic career in northern California in the mid-twenties. As de Angulo had already met a number of Achumawi (Pit River) Indians at his ranch up in Alturas, he naturally chose Pit River culture as his primary area of concentration. In 1928 de Angulo's valuable introduction to Pit River religion,"La Psychologie religeuse des Achumawi," was published in the French journal, Anthropos. Two years later the author's study of Pit River grammar, "The Achumawi Language," was published by Boas in his International Journal of American Linguistics. The following excerpts have been drawn, almost at random, from a third and final previously unpublished paper in this series, The Achumawi: A Primitive Tribe of Northern California. A more open and less technical study than the two previous works, the paper provides early evidence of the good humor, rich insight, and irrepressible rambling narrative style that characterize the author's later classics Indians in Overalls and Indian Tales.

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