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Two Nineteenth-Century Reports of Great Basin Subsistence Practices

Abstract

This paper concerns two Nineteenth Century ethnographic accounts of subsistence practices of native groups in the Great Basin. The first is a letter written by John Muir (Muir 1918), the eminent conservationist and naturalist. The second (Anonymous 1881) was published in The West Shore, a journal of the time. To my knowledge, neither account has received notice by Great Basin anthropologists, though Muir's discussion was noted in passing by Fleck (1985). Because "new" ethnographic information about Great Basin Indians is somewhat rare, such early reports are of interest to current studies of the anthropology of this region, and of hunter-gatherer studies in general. Both accounts are quoted at length; to each I append a brief analysis of their significance to current Great Basin anthropological research.

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