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Open Access Publications from the University of California

A Rare Account of Gabrielino Shamanism from the Notes of John P. Harrington


Narratives which concern shamanism among the Gabrielino of southern California are always important, since so little of this aspect of their culture has survived. It was thus with great delight that I discovered one such narrative among some notes on Gabrielino material culture that I had ordered from the Smithsonian Institution. The account, recorded by John P. Harrington, pertains to shamanism at Mission San Gabriel and Santa Catalina Island, and its rich detail provides the opportunity to make comparative studies. I have lightly edited the account, and at the end of the narrative the reader will find a few notes made where confusion or contradiction existed, or elaboration was felt justified.

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