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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.

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The Datura Cult Among the Chumash

In their quest for visions and for supernatural power, the Chumash of the Santa Barbara region were one of many tribes throughout North and South America that resorted to the use of hallucinogenic plants. Datura was one of the most widely known of these hallucinogens; Indians of an area from Chile to the American Southwest made ritual use of several species of Datura. Until recently, references to Datura in the literature on the Chumash have been brief and largely conjectural. Now contemporary workers are synthesizing the unpublished manuscripts of John P. Harrington's ethnographic work among the Chumash between 1912 and 1922. In particular, Thomas Blackburn (1974) has done a cultural analysis of Chumash narrative texts in which Datura figures prominently.

Two Chemehuevi Teaching Myths

In a sense, all myths are teaching myths. Among peoples who have never developed a system of writing, beliefs about origins and cosmology, customs, social attitudes, and many other kinds of information are transmitted by the spoken word in tales both dramatic and humorous that are told and retold from generation to generation. However, certain stories are obviously designed to pass on specific knowledge. This is true of large segments of the myths to be considered in this paper.

Power and its Applications in Native California

This paper presents a general description of supernatural power as it was perceived and used by California Indians prior to European contact. The principal existential postulates relating to the concept of power which were shared by most native California peoples are outlined, and the normative postulates (values) which regulated the use of power are briefly discussed. Specific ways in which power might be acquired, and the conduits or pathways to its acquisition are reviewed. Finally, some of the social implications deriving from the concept of the presence of power and beliefs about its characteristics are suggested. The description of power presented here is cross-cultural, and the author fully recognizes that not every aspect of power described in this paper can be strictly applied to each ethnic group in the state. Beliefs about power varied from group to group, but for the most part the ideas presented here were widely shared.

Kashaya Pomo Dances

There are very few Pomo tribes which still uphold their traditional religion. The Kashaya tribe is one of these groups. Some of the dances that are done by the Kashaya people today are original dances that were started long ago by shamans other than the present-day Kashaya spiritual leader. Vana Parrish, the youngest daughter of the present Kashaya Pomo spiritual leader, describes some of the dances.

Andrew A. Forbes - Photographs of the Owens Valley Paiute

This article presents 16 previously unpublished photographs of the Owens Valley Paiute, taken between 1903 and 1916, together with some comments on the images and the man who made them. Their publication at this time is the result of a communication from William Marvin Mason, Curator of History at the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History and a Contributing Editor to the Journal, which informed us of the existence of an extensive collection of photographs, including some of Califomia Indians, taken by A. A. Forbes of Bishop, California. With rare exceptions, the photographs in this collection have never been published.

The Achumawi Life-Force

The following translation of a piece by Jaime de Angulo is from a longer paper written in his native French, entitled La Psychologie Religieuse des Achumawi. It appeared in the journal Anthropos, Vol 23 (1928), pp. 150-154. The selection reproduced here appeared in a section of the original paper headed L'idee d'un principe vital immanent, and is presented for the benefit of those who lack access to the original Annette Boushey's translation of the entire work will eventually be published by Turtle Island Press, whom we thank for permission to print this selection.

Kamia and Kumeyaay: A Linguistic Perspective

The term Kamia and its many orthographic variants, among others Kamya, Comeya, Comaiyah, Co-mai-yah, Comedas, Comoyatz, Comoyee, Co-mo-yei, Quemaya, Quemaya, Camillares, Comoyalis, and Co-moyah (Henshaw and Hodge 1907; Kroeber 1925:723; Gifford 1931:2-3), have caused much confusion in the ethnographic literature. The spelling Kamia was made famous by Kroeber (1925:723ff) and institutionalized by Gifford's (1931) monograph The Kamia of Imperial Valley in which he described specifically the native inhabitants of Imperial Valley whom he visited briefly in 1928-1929. Because of the local focus of his monograph, Gifford used the term Kamia to refer uniquely to the group under discussion, although " . . . it is an open question whether the Eastern Diegueno and the Kamia should be regarded as a single people or as separate peoples" (Gifford 1931:2), and although a designation similar to Kamia is attested by various authors to refer to part or all of the group also known as Diegueno. The problem, stated in its simplest form, is that the two names—Diegueno and Kamia—overlap to some degree for various people, but are apparently not synonymous, least of all for the people they are supposed to identify. At the risk of increasing the existing confusion, but with the excuse that the reason for it might become clearer, I would like to take a linguistic perspective based on comparative observations of Yuman languages and dialects, and even suggest a plausible etymology.

Notes on the Kumeyaay: A Problem of Identification

For over fifty-five years, one of the most persistent problems in southern California anthropology has been the identification of the people called Kamia. In recent years, the question has arisen anew as anthropologists have begun to work more intensively with the southern California Yuman groups. Some of the Southern Diegueno have adopted the name Kumeyaay for themselves, and a reexamination of the old term Kamia and all of its variations is long overdue. The following list of historical and ethnographic references is presented to provide background for my own comments which follow, for Margaret Langdon's paper on the etymology of Kumeyaay and Kamia which also appears in this issue of the Journal, and for future work on the subject. The list does not pretend to be complete, but does contain the major references to variants of the term Kumeyaay. The list is presented chronologically. Whenever possible, the years in which the data were recorded are used as reference dates; publication dates often are several or many years later. Except for direct citations, the terms Kamia, Kumeyaay, Diegueiio, Cahuilla, Mojave, Quechan (often called Yuma), and Cocopa are used in this paper, in preference to the many orthographic variants which appear in the literature.

Speakers in the Night: California Indian Storytellers

Listening to the recounting of familiar myths and tales constituted a favorite form of amusement for the California Indians, and many a long winter night was passed in this manner. Specially gifted elderly persons, generally men, their memories well stocked with traditional lore, were the story- tellers. They held forth by firelight, usually in an assembly house, chief's dwelling, or other large structure, with their audience, composed of men, women, and ciuldren, clustered around them. Commonly, a raconteur prolonged his recital far into the night.

Fages' Code of Conduct Toward Indians, 1787

In December and January of 1786-1787, Pedro de Fages, who was governor of Alta and Baja California in 1787, stopped in the Pueblo de Nuestra Señora de los Angeles on a routine inspection trip through the southern part of the province. While at San Gabriel in early January of 1787, Fages wrote a code of conduct toward Indians for the corporal in charge of the little four-man guard unit in Los Angeles. This soldier, Vicente Feliz, was acting corporal of the guard, although he was actually a private. He was invested with special powers to facilitate military control of the pueblo and see to it that as little difficulty as possible arose between settlers of the pueblo and the large Indian population of the surrounding Indian rancherias or villages of the district.

The rules set down by Fages concerning relationships with the Indians of the Los Angeles area are of considerable interest, since they shed some light on the attitude of the settlers toward Indians and the established practices of social interaction between settlers and Indians in the field of labor. Before discussing Fages' code of conduct toward Indians, however, I shall first briefly present some biographical information about Fages and then describe in greater detail the background of the life of settlers and Indians in the vicinity of Los Angeles at the time of Fages' visit.


Early Ceramics from Southern California

The initially recovered ceramics were in close association with three radiocarbon samples analyzed to establish a general chronological placement of the site. Subsequent excavation were primarily concerned with obtaining radiocarbon samples in direct association with fired-clay objects.

Counterfeiters and Shell Currency Manipulators Among California Indians

One of the features of native life in California which persisted well into the time after the native societies had been practically destroyed by the successive occupations by Spain and the United States was the manufacture and use of shell bead money. Perhaps Indians continued to preserve these old customs because they were largely deprived of the opportunities for gainful employment, and through being largely excluded from the new economic system, they continued to value their old currency because it was still valuable.

The Beads of Humaliwo

The site of Humaliwo (4-LAn-264) is located near the coastal town of Malibu, California. Radiocarbon dates from the site indicate it was first seasonally occupied approximately 800-1000 B.C. Historically the area was occupied by Santa Monica Mountain Chumash, who acted as middlemen in complex island/inland trading spheres. Baptisms from Humaliwo are recorded at Mission San Buenaventura from 1785 to 1816. Thus the site could contain information about cultural systems spanning almost 3000 years. This is a preliminary analysis of shell, stone, and glass beads from Humaliwo. It is based on a small sample of beads recovered during summer excavations of 1971 and 1972 by the UCLA Archaeological Survey.


Pomo Lineages: 'Why Not?' A Response to Kunkel

I found Kunkel's article, "The Pomo Kin Group and the Political Unit in Aboriginal California," to be most interesting and stimulating (see Vol. 1, No. 1 of the Journal). I do trust that, even though only an interloping Africanist of sorts, I may be allowed to offer some criticism of certain of his conclusions. Insofar as I am qualified to say, I found his ethnographic case for the existence of "ambilocal residential kingroups as… basic [Pomo] political subdivisions" quite convincing. My reservations primarily concern his contention that the finding is inconsistent with the existence and/or political significance of unilineal kin groups.

Pomo Social Structure: Problems of Ethnohistory

Kunkel's (1974) article on "Pomo kin groups" and Kronenfeld's response, in this issue (Kronenfeld 1975), bring to the fore once more the interesting problem of the ethnohistory of social structure. Kronenfeld is quite apt in his comparison with the Nuer whose residential groupings and seasonal movements do not exactly reflect the fact that the Nuer use the metaphor of unilineal kinship to describe and understand their own socio-political organization. Kunkel seems to have confused social organization for social structure and while he has much of the former type of data in hand the latter only seems to have existed in the minds of long deceased Pomo for it was not recorded by ethnographers or other reporters.

Further Information on the de Cessac Photograph

In the Winter, 1974 issue of the Journal (p. 186), there appeared a photograph, originally taken by Leon de Cessac in 1878, of an Ineseno Chumash man dressed in ceremonial regalia. Since the individual shown is somewhat misleadingly identified in the Journal as a "Chumash shaman," and since the particular photograph has been reproduced several times in recent years (Reichlen and Heizer 1964; Grant 1965), I feel that it might be useful to correct the record and add further data to what little is presently available.


Bean and King, eds.: ?Antap: California Indian Political and Economic Organization

?Antap: California Indian Political and Economic Organization. Lowell John Bean and Thomas F. King, Eds. Ramona, California: BaUena Press, Anthropological Papers No. 2, 1974. 177 pp. $5.50 (paper).

Heizer and Clewlow: Prehistoric Rock Art of California

Prehistoric Rock Art of California. Robert F. Heizer and C W. Clewlow, Jr. 2 vols. Ramona, California: Ballena Press, 1973. 149 pp., maps, tables, appendices, bibliography, 23 plates, 384 figures. $12.50.

Gerow: Co-traditions and Covergent Trends in Prehistoric California

Co-traditions and Convergent Trends in Prehistoric California. Bert A. Gerow. San Luis Obispo: San Luis Obispo County Archaeological Society Occasional Papers No. 8. 1974. V + 57 pp., 3 figs. $3.00 (paper).

Heizer, Ed.: They Were Only Diggers: A Collection of Articles from California Newspapers 1851-1886, On Indian and White Relations; and Heizer, Ed.: The Destruction of California Indians

They Were Only Diggers: A Collection of Articles from California Newspapers, 1851-1886, On Indian and White Relations. Assembled and Edited by Robert F. Heizer. Ramona, California: Ballena Press Publications in Archaeology, Ethnology, and History No. 1, 1974. xi + 126 pp. $4.95. The Destruction of California Indians. Robert F. Heizer, Ed. Santa Barbara and Salt Lake City: Peregrine Smith, Inc., 1974. x + 313 pp., photographs. $10.00.

Heizer, ed.: The Costanoan Indians: The Indian Culture from the Mouth of the Sacramento River, South to Monterey and Inland Past the Salinas River

The Costanoan Indians: The Indian Culture from the Mouth of the Sacramento River, South to Monterey and Inland Past the Salinas River. R. F. Heizer, Ed. Cupertino, California: California History Center, De Anza College, Local History Studies 18. 1974. 116 pp.

O'Connell, et al.: Perris Reservoir Archeology: Late Prehistoric Demographic Change in Southeastern California

Perris Reservoir Archeology: Late Prehistoric Demographic Change in Southeastern California.James F. O'Connell, Philip J. Wilke, Thomas F. King, and Carol L. Mix, Eds. Sacramento: California Department of Parks and Recreation, Archeological Report No. 14. 1974. ix + 172 pp., 23 figs., 20 pls. $3.50 (paper).

Hester, Mildner, and Spencer: Great Basin Atlatl Studies

Great Basin Atlatl Studies.T. R. Hester, M. P. Mildner, and L. Spencer. Ramona, California: Ballena Press Publications in Archaeology, Ethnology, and History No. 2, 1974. 60 pp., 5 tables, 2 pls., 19 figs. $4.95 (paper).