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Open Access Publications from the University of California


The five volumes of The Journal of California Anthropology published theoretical and substantive materials dealing with ethnology, archaeology, ethnohistory, languages, and arts of the native peoples of Alta and Baja California. The Journal of California and Great Basin Anthropology supercedes The Journal of California Anthropology with an expanded emphasis on Great Basin anthropology.

Issue cover



Lithograph by Sarony, Major & Knapp, from a drawing by H. B. Mollhausen. from Report Upon the Colorado River of the West by Lieutenant Joseph C. Ives. Washington, 1861.

A Chumash Shaman

Photograph taken in 1878 by León de Cessac of a Chumash shaman from the Samala (?) group of Santa Ynez Valley. De Cessac and Alphonse Pinart were leaders of a French scientific expedition to California (1877-1879). From a copy of the original photograph secured by Campbell Grant from the Musée de l'Homme, Paris, France.


The Influence of Agriculture on Aboriginal Socio-Political Organization in the Lower Colorado River Valley

The Yuman-speaking peoples of the Southwest and California were for the most part non-agricultural in pre-contact times, but the tribes of the lower Colorado River Valley did regularly farm. These tribes were, from north to south, the Mohave, Halchidhoma, Yuma (Cuchan), Kahwan, Halyikwamai, and Cocopa. Castetter and Bell (1951:74) estimated that, on the average, they obtained from 30% to 50% of their food supply from agriculture. These percentages are low—and in many years they must have been much lower—yet River Yuman culture differed from that of the Yuman-speaking peoples of California and upland Arizona in many ways, the most fundamental of which represent, we believe, an adaptation to agriculture and to the distinctive environment in which it was practiced. In this paper, we will suggest that the successful practice of agriculture in the Colorado River Valley necessitated a settlement pattern to which the distinctive River Yuman sib system is an adaptation. This in turn gave rise to a form of chieftainship, a type of warfare, and a supporting ideology that was quite unlike that of the non-agricultural Yuman-speaking peoples of California and Arizona.

Hunting With Ishi - The Last Yana Indian

Theodora Kroeber's brilliant and compassionate Ishi in Two Worlds (1961) refocused attention on the tragic story of Ishi, the last Yana (Yahi) Indian. Almost forgotten today— except among the older generation of California anthropologists—is an account of Ishi and his hunting techniques which appeared as the first three chapters of Saxton T. Pope's Hunting with the Bow and Arrow (1923a). Long out of print and seldom available because of the demand for used copies among archery enthusiasts, Pope's book is matched among the classic works on American archery only by Maurice Thompson's The Witchery of Archery (1878). Thompson's account of his hunting experiences with bow and arrow in the Okefenokee Swamp after the Civil War led to a rise of interest in archery in America in the late nineteenth century. This interest was on the wane when Pope's book appeared. Pope's work, along with its sequel, The Adventurous Bowmen (1926), which recounted his safari to Africa to hunt big game with bow and arrow, helped stimulate a revival of archery as an American sport which continues to this day. Although the essay reprinted below is non-technical in nature, Pope was a keen observer of Ishi's hunting methods, and he provides a wealth of ethnographic detail.

Saxton T. Pope was born in I875 in Fort Stockton, Texas. He was a man of varied interests and many unusual accomplishments. During his high school years, he built an airplane that would rise and fly, and throughout his life he maintained close associations with the world of aviation, including the Wright Brothers. He graduated from and served as an associate clinical professor of surgery at the University of California Medical School in San Francisco. As a surgeon, he helped develop the science of blood transfusion and intra-tracheal anesthesia with surgery of the heart and lungs. He was the first person to use a bamboo pole for pole-vaulting, and he held the world's record for flight shooting in archery. Pope first met Ishi in 1911. He learned to speak the Yana language and became a close friend as well as the personal physician to Ishi. His interest in archery first developed under Ishi's guidance in 1912. His technical works include Yahi Archery (1918), The Medical History of Ishi (1920), and A Study of Bows and Arrows (1923b).

Chumash Placenames

In this paper, I discuss the pattern of Chumash placenaming. Places are named for prominent geographical features and their fancied resemblances, for flora, fauna, and local conditions, and for legendary and mythological incidents. I give priority to those placenames still surviving, of course, but the names of many places long since forgotten appear here too. It is not, however, my purpose to make an exhaustive list of placenames, nor to locate them precisely.

Cultural and Social Change Among the Coast Central Pomo

My intent is to outline the transformation of Bokeya society into the contemporary Manchester Band of Pomo. I will examine the processes of cultural change from the traditional (pre-1800) through periods of increased Americanization (post-1850) to the contemporary condition. For purposes of analysis, Pomo culture history is broken into five conceptual stages.


The Buffalo in Chemehuevi Folklore

In their far-flung peregrinations the Chemehuevi undoubtedly encountered the buffalo and came to know of tribes who lived by the buffalo. They had a name for buffalo (kutsu), and Chemehuevi men who had broad, heavy shoulders and slim hips were said to be "built like the buffalo." Yet the buffalo plays a very minor role in Chemehuevi mythology. Of the thirty-odd Chemehuevi texts of myths dictated between May 1919 and May 1920 by my informant, George Laird (who later became my husband), only two make mention of this animal.

One of these is a story of the travels of Southern Fox (Tantivaiyipatsi). George Laird entitled it "Southern Fox Went Across Fire Valley." He said frankly that he had constructed it out of four remembered fragments which he thought "belonged together." In the tale as he told it, Southern Fox travels in a semicircle from his home on Whipple Mountain south to Blythe Intake, northwest across the Mohave River, then north to and across Death Valley. The third episode only will be given here, for it is only in this section that a buffalo is mentioned.

Seasonal Exploitation of Chione Clams on the Southern California Coast

The remains of shellfish of various species comprise a significant fraction of many coastal southern California middens. Analysis of the growth rings of certain species permits determination of the season in which the shellfish were collected for food, and hence the season in which the middens were occupied. These data are thus useful for clarifying certain aspects of settlement patterns. The present paper adds two species of Chione clam to the list of molluscs used as indicators of archaeological seasonality, and discusses the implications of these findings for understanding prehistoric settlement adaptations on the southern California coast.


Greenwood: 9000 Years of Prehistory at Diablo Canyon, San Luis Obispo, California

9000 Years of Prehistory at Diablo Canyon, San Luis Obispo County, California. Roberta S. Greenwood. With an appendix entitled "Fish Remains, Primarily Otohths, from a Coastal Indian Midden (SLo- 2) at Diablo Cove, San Luis Obispo County, California," by John Fitch. San Luis Obispo, California: San Luis Obispo County Archaeological Society Occasional Paper No. 7. 1972. ix & 120 pp. and 38 figs. $5.00.

Grant: Rock Art of Baja California

Rock Art of Baja California. Campbell Grant. With Notes on the Pictographs of Léon Diguet (1895), translated by Roxanne Lapidus. Los Angeles: Dawson's Book Shop, 1974. 146 pp., 9 color plates, 50 figures, 3 maps. $24.00 (cloth).