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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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Ritual Management of Salmonid Fish Resources in California

Ethnographers at times are more concerned with reporting data than interpreting them. As a result, ethnographies often have the appearance of being little more than collections of facts organized by a generally standardized topical outline. Synoptic surveys may result from an effort to synthesize a particular trait, custom, or complex, and from these there often results a deeper insight into the function and purpose of what, in unanalyzed form, seem to be cultural practices which are illogical or meaningless. We attempt here to review native ritual, belief, and ceremony connected with anadromous fish in the northern part of the state in the effort to determine what logical and functional significance these had in terms of Native California life and survival.

Portola's 1769 Expedition and Coastal Native Villages of San Diego County

What has happened to the village sites visited by Portola and his men? Like so many historical and archaeological sites, they have either been forgotten, destroyed by thoughtless relic collectors, or covered by urban sprawl. After years of farming, grazing, erosion, relic collecting, and construction activities, little is left of the coastal villages of these people, although one, Ystagua, is currently under study for possible preservation. Scattered pot shards, broken trade beads, and shell mounds stand as silent testimony to a way of life which began its end in July, 1769, as another way of life commenced.

J. P. Harrington's Cochimi Vocabularies

The non-Yuman vocabularies bear the name of the supposed dialects of Cochimi spoken at the northernmost of the Central Desert Missions: Borjino (San Francisco de Borja Adac), Rosareno (Nuestra Senora del Rosario Vinadaco) (Fig. l)(see Massey 1949). In this same category is a dialect labelled "Judillo" (sic) which, according to Harrington's notes, was spoken some miles south of Mount Matomi, placing it in the territory of the ex-mission of San Fernando Velicata (see Fig. 1). These Cochimi lists, perhaps the last data available to us in this language, lend themselves admirably to the comparative method, throwing new light on the hypothesis of a genetic relationship between Cochimi and Yuman.

Intimations of Unity

It is a truism that certain mythological themes occur and reoccur and certain mythological episodes are endlessly repeated and variously combined, disguised at times almost beyond recognition as they are filtered through widely disparate cultures and adapted to widely differing environments. Apparently behind every god, demigod, or hero stands an archetypal figure, seen "through a glass darkly" but nonetheless present and indestructible.

This is especially true of the mythologies of Native Americans. I have neither the requisite scholarship nor time to undertake an in-depth study of so vast a subject—indeed, it is a subject which will engage armies of scholars for generations to come. However, I am familiar with Chemehuevi mythology. I shall therefore venture to point out a few of the correspondences between the Mythic Coyote (or Wolf and Coyote) Cycle of the Chemehuevi and the Trickster and Hare Cycles of the Winnebago, as related by Radin (1956). These parallels would be interesting enough if found within the same culture area or the same linguistic stock; they are extraordinarily challenging when they occur in the sacred narratives of tribes separated by roughly two-thirds of a continent and speaking unrelated languages.

Prehistoric Squash (Cucurbita pepo L.) from the Salton Basin

Almost no direct information is available on the origin and antiquity of agriculture in the Salton Basin. The fact that agriculture is well integrated into the Cahuilla creation story and other tales and myths, and that there are Cahuilla terms for crop plants, suggest that the practice is of some considerable antiquity (Lawton 1974). The plant remains described here, and the context in which they were found, are related to the probable antiquity of agriculture in the basin.

Mohave Indian Images and the Artist Maynard Dixon

The sketches by Maynard Dixon photocopied for the present article were all done in 1900. They form an admirable supplement to the photographic series of the Southwest Museum and of the A.L. Kroeber pictures catalogued in the University of California's Lowie Museum of Anthropology, Berkeley. The Dixon pictures of the Mohave (and of one Yuma Indian) have never before been exhibited or published in a group. Many of them are of identifiable persons, the names executed in the simple orthography employed by Dixon. Their greatest significance probably lies in the bold depiction of character, strength, and often sadness shown in the subjects' faces, which cannot be captured by the relatively impersonal and unstudied camera snapshot. They also represent a footnote in the biography of a man who after about 1914 became known as one of the most prominent painters of the American Southwest or of Indians elsewhere in North America; in a true sense he was among the worthy successors of George Catlin (1796-1872) or Frederick Remington (1861-1909).

A Tentative Notation System for Kashaya Pomo Dances

Given the inadequacies of narrative description and filming, dance notation is singularly efficient as a mode of recording movement for future analysis. It allows the maximum in clarity and detail with the minimum expenditure of time and energy.

In deciding which of the movement notation systems in current use might be the most practical in recording Kashaya Pomo dances, I found both Labanotation (Hutchinson 1954) and Benesh notation (Benesh and Benesh 1969) to be too complex for my purposes, and the system devised by G. Kurath in her work with the Tewa (Kurath and Garcia 1970) to be too simplified. Therefore, the obvious alternative was to devise a system of my own which could be especially tailored to Kashaya Pomo dances.

Biopsychological Aspects of Chumash Rock Art

The particular case of Chumash rock art is suggestive if inconclusive. Grant (1965) has described the pictographs and petroglyphs of the Santa Barbara hinterland in some detail, and has isolated most of the design elements utilized by the native artists. These design elements (many of which are shown in Fig. 3) seem to me to be often strikingly similar to the experimentally induced phosphenes in Fig. 1, although I am not enough of an artist to make the kind of rigorous stylistic comparison of the two motif sets that would be desirable. However, the similarities appear to be extensive and systematic, and I feel that they provide additional support to the suggestion that many of the paintings were inspired by hallucinatory phenomena associated with the ingestion of Datura inoxia. Future research on Chumash rock art might explore this hypothesis further, and utilize as well our newly acquired information concerning the nature of Chumash myth and ritual (Blackburn 1976; Hudson et al. 1977). It seems likely to me that what we are seeing in much of Chumash rock art are individual expressions of mythological themes or characters as "seen" or experienced by the artists as a direct or indirect consequence of ingesting a known hallucinogenic substance. The universal visual phenomena, phosphenes, provide basic stimuli which are filtered through the screen of cultural interpretation and myth to provide powerful religious symbols; to fully interpret these, we must learn more in the future about both the biopsychological aspects of the art and the intervening cultural screen, and about the process of interaction between the two. Here studies of contemporary situations involving the ritual use of psychoactive substances (such as Reichel-Dolmatoffs pioneering work among the Tukano) should be of considerable help. Perhaps in the not-too-distant future we will be able to approach prehistoric art in a new way, and not just look, but see.

Temal Wakhish: A Desert Cahuilla Village

An environmental impact survey of property on the Riverside County Airport at Thermal, California, has recently revealed the remains of a major Desert Cahuilla village. Instead of the ethnographic summary drawn from published sources which usually accompanies environmental impact reports, it was decided to undertake an ethnohistorical investigation of the site. This paper represents a collaboration between the authors aimed at providing a brief ethnography of the village of Temal Wakhish on the Thermal Airport property. (For an explanation of English and Cahuilla placenames in the Coachella Valley, see Table 1.) The data presented here were obtained from a review of ethnographic sources, the junior author's extensive knowledge of oral history of the village and the surrounding area, and as the result of a walkover survey of the site.

We hope this paper will demonstrate the value of collaboration between Native Americans and anthropologists. Archaeologists sometimes pass up a potentially valuable source of data in interpreting the archaeological record by ignoring living Native Americans. Ethnohistorical investigations of the sort presented here not only permit more detailed inferences in interpreting archaeological remains, but also preserve important ethnographic data that might otherwise be lost. Such a collaboration may also reduce the mistrust many Native Americans have for the motives behind archaeological research and environmental impact surveys. As Mrs. Modesto puts it:

Archaeologists dig things up and don't tell people anything and carry them away sometimes. This is the reason people don't want archaeologists to come to the reservations. They don't want them because they don't tell the people anything. They just come and dig. I think they could get along much better. Probably there are still many people yet that know the old history and they could talk to the archaeologists. That way the archaeologists could get to know the Indian better. I have myself seen desecrated graves, bones scattered everywhere, and this is terrible; a sacrilege. If the archaeologists would only come and speak to the people it would be better.


Painted Pebbles from a Shellmound on Brooks Island, Contra Costa County, California

In the fall of 1960, archaeological excavations were made at site CCo-290, a shellmound on the north side of Brooks Island, which lies about three-quarters of a mile off the Richmond shore in San Francisco Bay, directly opposite the now-destroyed Ellis Landing mound, site CCo-295 (Nelson 1910). During the excavation, two small pebbles with simple painted decoration were recovered. Because of their relatively rare occurrence in California, these previously unreported pebbles seem to warrant a detailed description.

The Origin of the Name "Cahuilla"

In attempts to discover the origins of words, we can never go back beyond a certain point. In the present case, since it is unlikely that we will ever have full data on the Cochimi language, we may never know what the original Cochimi meaning of the word "Cahuilla" may have been. But I believe we may accept the data assembled by Harrington as showing that—unlike other tribal names such as Serrano or Luiseno—the term "Cahuilla" did have an Indian origin, and that it was used by Spanish speakers in Baja California to mean "a non-missionized Indian." In that sense, it was apparently applied to the Southern California tribe that we call the Cahuilla today.

A Chumash Pottery Jar

This note describes a pottery jar associated with a burial in a proto-historic Chumash cemetery (CA-SBa-60) and places it in a regional and historical context.


A Further Note on Lithic Heat-treating in Northwestern California

There are two areas of Gould's paper which I believe call for further comment. I find to be of most interest Gould's statement on p. 143:

The possibility thus exists that cobbles of agate and jasper were collected by Indians from the beaches and placed in fires, perhaps solely for the purpose of lithic reduction or perhaps in connection with stone-boiling of water and acorn gruel.... No careful effort was made by the Indians to control the rate at which the agate and jasper cobbles were heated and cooled, so many cobbles shattered into useless fragments....

With this, and following statements, Gould sets forth a "hypothetical lithic reduction sequence" for the Point St. George site.

Comment on Anderson's Review of Nava and Berger

In his review of California: Five Centuries of Cultural Contrast by Julian Nava and Bob Berger (Journal of California Anthropology, Winter, 1976, pp. 100-103), E.N. Anderson makes some relevant points concerning their "whitewashing" of the Spanish missionaries' treatment of the Indians. The reasons for this whitewash perhaps do not need to be expressed. While I generally agree with and like the tone of the review, in his correction of Nava's and Berger's gross errors concerning mission history Dr. Anderson has introduced another set of errors concerning mission history that require comment. He notes: At a more remote level, why did the Colonial government give California to the harsh Franciscans rather than the more tolerant Dominicans and Jesuits, who had more success in keeping their charges alive? The Dominicans had been put out of (Lower) California, and the Jesuits out of all missionary activity, to a great extent because they were too successful at protecting their charges from Spanish land-grabbers.

Reply to Aschmann

I am very grateful to Professor Aschmann for correcting my more speculative flights. It is, of course, true that the Jesuit and Dominican missions killed off the native populations as fast as the Franciscans did, and that the Jesuits were out of the field by 1769. My impression is still that overall Jesuit policy was relatively mild—cf. the well-known experiment with Utopian planning among the Indians in Paraguay, for instance—and that this relatively mild policy was one of the reasons for their downfall in the New World. Their record in Baja California was certainly a sad one, however. As to the Dominicans, my memory seems to have simply played me false. It appears that things were even worse than I thought for the unfortunate missionized Indians of the Californias!

On Kroeberian and Post-Kroeberian California Ethnology

I have just read Albert Elsasser's (1976) review of Native Californians: A Theoretical Retrospective, edited by Lowell Bean and Thomas Blackburn. As author of one of the articles in this collection, I am puzzled by Elsasser's reference to "certain authors" in the collection (including me) as "post-Kroeberian." Furthermore, I wish to protest the out-of-context, fragmental quotation from my article, by which Elsasser misrepresented my attitude toward Kroeber and the basic "older" data on California ethnography.

Reply to Kunkel

In regard to Peter Kunkel's objection to parts (or all) of my review of Native Californians: A Theoretical Retrospective, I do indeed owe him an apology if he believes I was misrepresenting him. I can assure him that I did not look at this book "on the run" and found little or nothing to comment upon adversely in any one of the articles of the volume, even if space were available to do so. What I chose to emphasize was what appeared to me as a sort of dichotomy between some "younger" and "older" scholars in the matter of relative confidence in handling of ethnological data. I am well aware that Kroeber's students or associates did not always agree with him, or with each other, in methodological aspects of their work—it merely seemed to me that they were not deprecating directly or by implication the work done (or not done) by others. I realize also that historically there was little likelihood that any condescending attitudes could develop among these early scholars. No doubt the separation of "old" or traditional from "new" or innovative can be done in an approximate and figurative sense only, and I regret the suggestion that Kunkel was in effect fuzzily categorized as of the latter persuasion.

Comment on Kowta's Review of Fifty Years of Archeology in the California Desert

Makoto Kowta, reviewing my recent Fifty Years of Archeology in the California Desert (Journal of California Anthropology 3[2]:93-94) has noted my positivist biases, commented that I have "covered the material well" and revealed "new and interesting historical details," and expressed concern because I did not address "management of archaeological resources vis-a-vis the non-specialist public." While I am always grateful for essentially commendatory reviews, I am both disappointed and a little disturbed by Kowta's treatment of my work.

Reply to King

The limited space available for my review precluded a full discussion on all aspects of the solidly executed overview in question. Its author's comment above provides additional details which readers will find useful in arriving at a more complete comprehension of its contents.

Reply to McGuire and Garfinkel

McGuire and Garfinkel (1976) have argued that evidence presented in my recent article discussing the origins of pinyon exploitation in Owens Valley, eastern California (Bettinger 1976), fails to demonstrate adequately the beginnings of that procurement system at about A.D. 600, and signals only the initiation of an intensified form of pinyon exploitation that required the processing and storing of pinenuts in the pinyon zone. They contend that prior to A.D. 600 pinenuts might have been processed and stored at lowland winter villages, leaving little direct evidence in the pinyon zone. To support their case, they cite the results of surveys in Reese River, central Nevada (Thomas 1973), where items related to pinyon exploitation, principally rock rings and millingstones, were remarkably rare in the pinyon zone despite heavy reliance on pinenuts as a dietary staple. I will restrict my comments to a few major points.


Elston, ed.: Holocene Environmental Change in the Great Basin

Holocene Environmental Change in the Great Basin. Robert Elston, ed. Reno: Nevada Archeological Survey Research Paper No. 6. 1976.

Engstrand: Royal Officer in Baja California, 1768-1770: Joaquin Velasquez de Leon

Royal Officer in Baja California, 1768-1770: Joaquin Velasquez de Leon. Iris Wilson Engstrand. Los Angeles: Dawson's Bookshop. 133 pp. 1976. $24.00.

Powers: Tribes of California

Tribes of California. Stephen Powers (Introduction and annotations by Robert F. Heizer). University of California Press, 1977. 482 pp., 44 figures. $20.00 (cloth); $5.95 (paperback).

Hardesty and Fox: Archeological Investigations in Northern California

Archeological Investigations in Northern California. Donald L. Hardesty and Steven Fox (with an appendix by Thomas Burke). Reno: University of Nevada, Nevada Archeological Survey Research Paper No. 4. 1974. i-v + 77 pp., 4 maps, 3 figs., 1 pl., 1 table, bibliography, 1 appendix. $4.00. (paper).

Simpson, et al.: Rock Camp Site: Archaeological Excavation of an Indian Campsite Near Lake Arrowhead, San Bernardino Mountains

Rock Camp Site: Archaeological Excavation of an Indian Campsite Near Lake Arrowhead, San Bernardino Mountains. Ruth Dee Simpson, Gerald A. Smith, Robert Reynolds, Doris Hoover Bowers, and Arda Haenszel. San Bernardino: San Bernardino County Museum Association Quarterly Vol. 20, No. 1, Fall 1972. 174 pp., maps, tables, bibliography, 31 plates.

Bean and Vane: California Indians: Primary Resources. A guide to Manuscripts, Artifacts, Documents, Serials, Music and Illustrations

California Indians: Primary Resources. A Guide to Manuscripts, Artifacts, Documents, Serials, Music and Illustrations. Lowell John Bean and Sylvia Brakke Vane. Socorro, New Mexico: Ballena Press Anthropological Papers No. 7. 1977.

Geiger and Meighan: As The Padres Saw Them: California Indian Life and Customs as Reported by the Franciscan Missionaries, 1813-1815

As The Padres Saw Them: California Indian Life and Customs as Reported by the Franciscan Missionaries, 1813-1815. Historical Introduction, Notes, and Translation by Maynard Geiger, O.F.M. Anthropological Commentary, Notes, and Appendices by Clement W. Meighan. Santa Barbara Mission Archive Library, 1976. 170 pp. $19.95.

Hudson et al.: The Eye of the Flute: Chumash Traditional History and Ritual as Told by Fernando Librado Kitsepawit to John P. Harrington

The Eye of the Flute: Chumash Traditional History and Ritual as Told by Fernando Librado Kitsepawit to John P. Harrington. Travis Hudson, Thomas Blackburn, Rosario Curletti, and Janice Timbrook, eds. lllustrated by Campbell Grant. Santa Barbara: Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, Santa Barbara Bicentennial Historical Series iv. 1977. 130 pp., map, 19 illus., 4 appendices, indexed, clothbound. No price given.

Moshinsky: A Grammar of Southeastern Pomo

A Grammar of Southeastern Pomo. Julius Moshinsky. University of California Publications in Linguistics 72. 1974. xiii +144 pp. $5.50 (paper).

McLendon: A Grammar of Eastern Pomo

A Grammar of Eastern Pomo. Sally McLendon. University of California Publications in Linguistics 74. 1975. xiv + 196 pp. $6.50 (paper).

Colson: Autobiographies of Three Pomo Women

Autobiographies of Three Pomo Women. Elizabeth Colson. Berkeley: University of California Archaeological Research Facility (non-serial publication). 1974. 235 pp. $4.50 (paper).

Thomas and Bettinger: Pinon Ecotone Settlements of the Upper Reese River Valley, Central Nevada

Pinon Ecotone Settlements of the Upper Reese River Valley, Central Nevada. David Hurst Thomas and Robert L. Bettinger. Anthropological Papers of the American Museum of Natural History Vol. 53, No. 3. 1976.

Palmquist: With Nature's Children: Emma B. Freeman [1880-1928]—Camera and Brush

With Nature's Children: Emma B. Freeman [1880-1928]—Camera and Brush. Peter E. Palmquist. Interface California Corp., Eureka, 1976. 134 pp., illustrated profusely, with catalogue. $9.95. (Paper).