Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

Community and Wilderness in Pomo Ideology


The Pomo Indians of northern California perceived their villages as being separate from, but connected with, the wild places surrounding them, resulting in structurally differing interpretations for Community and Wilderness. The village and its fringe served as the focus of the woman's world, while the man's world often focused more on the wilderness. Power, an essential part of the Pomo experience, could be gained in both worlds. In the village, power was often of a communal nature, and its acquisition involved elaborate rituals enacted by numerous people. In the wilderness, however, power could be gained alone by way of supernatural experience. In order to acquire and maintain these powers, a spiritual balance was sought to connect the natural and cultural orders. This paper is a discussion of Pomoan thought and an examination of the relationship of the Pomo to Community and Wilderness.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View