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.
Volume 2, Issue 2, 1975
What ecological relationships can account for essential differences in social and economic organization among societies as different as, for example, the Kalahari Bushmen and Australian desert aborigines, as opposed to the Northwest Coast and northwestern California Indians? Rather than review the whole range of differences, this paper will focus on one key aspect of this process of differentiation: the contrast between what I shall term here sharing vs. aggrandizive systems of resource allocation.
The map of historic Chumash villages that comprises the core of this report began originally with an interest in explaining the distribution of archaeological sites in the vicinity of the Santa Monica Mountains. In 1966, Steven Craig of the UCLA Archaeological Survey visited Berkeley and discovered some of the valuable ethnographic notes collected by the late John P. Harrington. These notes contained, among other things, a wealth of information on Chumash placenames (see Applegate 1974), and I realized that this material might be extremely useful in interpreting data on sites in the Santa Monica Mountains.
The ethnographic division of Baja California Sur has been universally based upon the territorial extension of the two basic languages of the region, Guaycura and Pericu (Massey 1949; Jimenez Moreno 1974), heretofore derived from Jesuit missionary reports and observations made between 1684 and 1767. Such documents have served to establish the shores of the Bahia de La Paz within the linguistic and cultural extension of the Guaycura (Waicura) group. A detailed study of earlier observations by Spanish navigators to the area between 1596 and 1684, however, may well indicate that such was not always the case, and that demographic change occurred in the La Paz region between its initial discovery in 1535 and its settlement by Jesuit missionaries in 1720.
The only person who could accurately preserve large numbers of exotic languages would be someone with an extraordinary ear who was physically robust and willing to devote 18 hours a day to data collection, and who cared so little for academic prestige that he would not spend the time necessary to prepare his material for publication. In addition, he would have to find an institution that would support him.
Americanists can thank the gods for providing them with such an impossible combination in the person of John Peabody Harrington.
But when a culture is extinct, or has been drastically altered through acculturation, how can its original speech behavior be assessed? For example, the aboriginal inhabitants along the coast of south-central California were culturally quite similar, though linguistically diverse; these peoples were missionized some two hundred years ago, and their descendants are now largely or wholly acculturated into contemporary society. What can be said of these peoples' original speech patterns? The ethnographic statements of actual observers of the aboriginal communities almost universally confined themselves to various aspects of material culture. By the time competent ethnographers arrived on the scene, the culture was almost totally moribund; surviving informants were themselves largely second-hand sources, repeating what they had heard of the old ways.
During recent research in Owens Valley, eastern California, well-preserved aboriginal wood structures (Fig. 1) were found at two sites. The unusual degree of preservation of these dwellings permitted certain interesting observations about their configuration and construction not ordinarily possible in archaeological contexts. Both sites are located in the Inyo Mountains, which form the southeastern boundary of Owens Valley, and both lie within the historic territory of the Owens Valley Paiute (Steward 1933:235-236). One site, Pinyon House (designated C-3x-l), is situated on a relatively flat, northeast-southwest trending ridge on the western slope of the range. The other, Juniper Village (C-58-5), is situated on a north-south trending ridge on the eastern slope of the range. Both sites are identified as winter camps.
One of these archaeological sites merits special description, for it consists of the physical remains of a special procurement activity which is of major importance to the economy of the native people of the Great Basin, which includes portions of Eastern California. The activity is the pine nut harvest, discussed in detail by the ethnographers who have worked in the area, including Downs, Lowie, Steward, and Stewart, none of whom, however, has described a particular situation. Nor can I find an archaeological description of a pine nut camp, although D. H. Thomas implies in several papers that they were discovered and identified in the course of his Reese River Valley survey in central Nevada.
In 1969, while working in Baja California on Tipai (the Diegueno dialect of La Huerta), I made a collection of local plants and discussed their Mexican and Tipai names and uses with my two main consultants, Maria Aldama and Alejandrina Murillo de Melendres (referred to below as MA and AM respectively), and a third woman, Anfelina Merchado, with whom I consulted less frequently. The purpose here is simply to reproduce these notes, scanty as they are, for the use of other people doing ethnobotanical studies. This collection makes no pretense of being complete. Various plants that are surely well-known to the La Huerta community (such as mescal and yucca) were left out because they were not encountered during my stay there. No attempt was made to do an exhaustive analysis of La Huerta ethnobotany.
Although the mission system established by the Spanish in California has been a topic of considerable interest to both scholars and students alike for many years, and a great deal of information is available on certain specific aspects of mission life, it remains regrettably true that no phase of native history of comparable significance is more poorly represented in terms of primary documentation. With a few notable exceptions (such as a Boscana, Arroyo de la Cuesta, or Longinos Martinez), the participants and observers of the tragic events of the mission period seem to have seen little of intrinsic value or interest in native culture per se, or indeed in the people themselves as human beings, rather than simply converts or laborers. Consequently, the kinds of data available for anthropological or historic analysis are limited, sparse, systematically biased, and usually fail to provide the type of in-depth perspective that can sometimes be extracted from such sources. The publication of a native account of an important historic incident during the mission period—the Chumash revolt of 1824—should therefore be of particular interest to many, since it does supply a rare glimpse of native responses and attitudes toward the system which exploited them economically and destroyed them culturally.
After 1925, no further information was published about Alliklik. However, two relevant bodies of manuscript material, by C. Hart Merriam and J.P. Harrington, respectively, have recently come to light. These data provide considerable new, though somewhat conflicting, evidence on the identity of the Alliklik.
Early photographic collections of Native Americans have for many years provided rich insight into their distinctive but disappearing material culture. Jon Bosak's recent article (1975) on Andrew A. Forbes and his photographs is a welcomed addition to the field of Great Basin ethnological research and provides much valuable information on the Owens Valley Paiute and the man who photographed them in the early years of this century. There is, however, a minor error that should be brought to the readers' attention.
Comment on Wallace's Review of Gerow's "Co-Traditions and Convergent Trends in Prehistoric California"
Willian J. Wallace's brief review in the preceding issue of this journal calls for comment. Several statements are questionable representations of the position set forth in the monograph under review.
John Peabody Harrington is, in 1975, described on the dust cover of Carobeth Laird's book Encounter With an Angry God by Tom Wolfe, author of The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, as a "genius anthropologist." There is a tendency to equate idiosyncracy and paranoia, when it is combined with brilliance, with genius. I do not think that Harrington was a genius, but rather that he was highly intelligent, obviously devoted to his work, and surely erratic. These qualities may exist in geniuses, but by themselves they do not define that term.
Moratto, Riley, and Wilson, eds.: Shelter Hill: Archaeological Investigations of Mrn-14, Mill Valley, California
Shelter Hill: Archaeological Investigations at Mrn-14, Mill Valley, California.Michael J. Moratto, Lynn M. Riley, and Steven C. Wilson, eds. San Francisco and Marin: Treganza Anthropological Museum Papers, No. 15 and Miwok Archaeological Preserve of Marin Papers, No. 2, 1974. x + 166 pp., 2 maps (site locations map provided free of charge upon request by professional archaeologists only), 22 illustrations (9 plates, 11 figures, 2 logs). $5.00 (paper).
Heizer, Nissen and Castillo: California Indian History: A Classified and Annotated Guide to Source Materials
California Indian History: A Classified and Annotated Guide to Source Materials. R. F. Heizer, K. M. Nissen, and E. D. Castillo. Ramona, California: Ballena Press Publications in Archaeology, Ethnology, and History, No. 4. 1975. 90 pp.
The Cocopah People. Anita Alvarez de Willians. Phoenix: Indian Tribal Series, 1974. 104 pp., 4 color photos, 25 black. white photos, 5 line drawings. No price given.
Travelers Among the Cucapá. Anita Alvarez de Williams. Los Angeles: Dawson's Book Shop, 1975 (Baja California Travels Series No. 34). 161 pp., 32 figs., endpaper maps. $24.00.
Encounter With an Angry God:Recollections of My Life with John Peabody Harrington. Carobeth Laird. Foreword by Harry W. Lawton. Morongo Indian Reservation, Banning, California: Malki Museum Press, 1975. xxii + 190 pp.
Mukat's People: The Cahuilla Indians of Southern California.Lowell John Bean. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1972. x + 201 pp. No price given. (Reprinted in paperback, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1975).
December's Child: A Book of Chumash Oral Narratives.Thomas C. Blackburn, ed. and analysis. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1975. $12.95.