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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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A San Dieguito Component at Buena Vista Lake, California

This paper reports the results of the archaeological investigations of the deeply buried cultural stratum at Buena Vista Lake. It is suggested that materials recovered from the component represented a local variant of the San Dieguito complex of southern California (Warren 1967; Warren and True 1961).

Chemehuevi Myth as Social Commentary

We are told that in pre-contact times, when the stars in the heavens and the seasons on earth revolved changelessly and with no hint of coming destruction, the Chemehuevis sometimes held great gatherings. The knotted string was sent out, indicating the number of days that would elapse before the approaching festival; food was prepared in abundance; and the People came from near and far, to eat, to rejoice, to decide matters of consequence, and to hear the words of the High Chief. The lesser chiefs came with their families and spoke to each other in the language of chiefs, which was unintelligible to the common folk. And the great Chief himself, a man of such dignity that his words were generally conveyed through a spokesman, instructed the People in the way of life.

There is no way of knowing how much of this is legend and how much fact; and of the moral code which the Chief inculcated, there remains no single word. And yet there may be traces of this teaching discernible in certain fragments of the great mythic cycles which survive. These myths reach back to the youth of the world, to the beginnings of all things. Patterns set for human behavior by Mythic Coyote were often far from admirable, and of these we need say no more at present. Yet many tales had moral value, showing the dire results that followed impulsive and improper actions.

"Playing Leaves": A Study of a Traditional Kashaya Pomo Play Behavior

Kashaya Pomo, one of seven Pomo languages, is understood and spoken today by many adults, although English is preferred for socio-economic facility. Individuals under twenty years of age only rarely know Kashaya words and phrases. The Kashaya Pomo madrone leaf game, "Playing Leaves," is a traditional female play activity which is no longer practiced. In the game, behavior patterns, linguistic and non-linguistic, are employed in situations indicative of Kashaya Pomo cultural norms. In this preliminary study, I consider the game as a mechanism for reinforcement of cultural identity of the Pomo.

Imagemakers of the Modoc War: Louis Heller and Eadweard Muybridge

The Modoc War of 1872-73 in northeastern California has been a subject of both considerable popular interest and scholarly investigation during the past century. Many of its ethnic, social, and military dimensions have been evaluated in depth. Although most of the interpretive efforts have used photographic imagery produced at the time of the Modoc conflict, analysis of these photographic materials has been surprisingly casual.

Nearly 100 Modoc War photographs are known to exist. These photographs range from carte de viste style portraits of the Modoc Indian prisoners to stereographs of the warsite topography, the military encampments, the participants, and the military hardware. Curiously, these remarkable images have never been studied as a group, nor have the circumstances of their origin been explored in depth. For most writers who have dealt with the conflict, there has been one simple assumption: "Eadweard J. Muybridge took the Modoc War photographs." This paper will show that such is not the case, and that an almost forgotten photographer, Louis H. Heller, deserves equal credit with Muybridge for coverage of the Modoc War. A catalogue of Modoc War images is presented at the end of this paper, followed by a representative series of images by the photographers (Plates 1-33).

The Many Wives of Pedro Yanunali

This report presents a method of reconstructing Chumash social organization using Santa Barbara Mission records. The analysis begins with the construction of genealogies based on the mission's baptismal, marriage, and death registers. Using this method, the investigator can reconstruct native marriages and kin relationships which are not directly recorded in the registers. The reconstructed genealogies of four Chumash capitanes illustrate this procedure. This study is part of an on-going analysis of mission records from 1787-1806.

A Half Century of Death Valley Archaeology

Obviously, the various archaelogical activities that have gone on in Death Valley during the past fifty-odd years, and particularly since 1950, have enormously enriched knowledge of the region's past. Now, with this expanded body of information, many questions as to the nature and course of former human occupation can be answered. But it would be wrong to assume that the archaeologist's task is done or that it has reached the point of diminishing returns. Vast tracts, some of considerable promise, remain totally or inadequately explored. The possibility of surprising or even revolutionary discoveries in these areas is strong. Moreover, even if the main outline of the region's past seems reasonably clear, obscurity and uncertainty still hang over many of the details. In short, there is still much to be done.

Patterns of Chumash Names

Not unlike other researchers interested in the Chumash, I too had taken Chumash surnames for granted, but then I began to ask the above questions, searching lists of names for patterns and latent meanings, although only taking a cursory look into the problem. The results of this initial study are the subject of this paper. My findings are not offered as "final," but rather "indicative" in that I have not attempted a comprehensive analysis. I present them here, however, because of three reasons I consider to be important in California Indian studies: (1) they provide some indication as to how Chumash personal names were derived in aboriginal times; (2) they offer important insights into the post-Mission period of acculturation (1830's-1870's), a subject about which we currently know little (Blackburn 1975:4); and (3) the patterns by which post-Mission Hispanic names were derived have applicability for other Mission Indian peoples in California‚ÄĒsomething which I hope my fellow researchers will find of interest.

The Calloway Affair of 1880: Chemehuevi Adaptation and Chemehuevi-Mohave Relations

On March 28, 1880, Chemehuevis in the Palo Verde Valley of the Colorado River killed a white engineer, Oliver P. Calloway, looted his camp, and threatened to kill every white man on the river. The stories of this event as told by both the Chemehuevi and Mohave tribes today, and the character of the event itself, contribute a great deal to understanding the long tradition of Chemehuevi-Mohave relations. The story has become something of a modern myth among the Chemehuevis and Mohaves. Though seemingly a Chemehuevi-white conflict, the story is told as one of a body of stories of conflicts between Chemehuevis and Mohaves which contributes to each tribe's definition of its ethnic identity and relationship to the other. The event and its outcomes indicate the contrasting adaptations of the two tribes twenty years after American assertion of control over the Colorado River area and how these differences in adaptation had changed the relationship between the two tribes.

Interior Chumash

In this article we publish two Chumash vocabularies representing the speech of groups who lived away from the coast together with analysis and commentary; no publications of the Chumash speech of these regions have hitherto been made. The word-lists will considerably change the traditional picture of speech distributions in these interior regions. Although we owe both of the vocabularies here printed to the work of C. Hart Merriam, their interpretation requires us to use materials drawn from the researches of A.L. Kroeber and John P. Harrington. All three of these men were diligent tillers of the fecund vineyard of California aboriginal languages, and they were all working contemporaneously, in the first two decades of the twentieth century. But there was practically no communication among them. Of the three, only Kroeber was a prolific publisher, and so it is from him that the picture of the distributions and structures of the state's native languages which dominated the scholarly scene during the first half of the century was largely derived. The subject is, however, so vast that no one student could pretend to control all parts of it. As we shall see, the lack of intercommunication among these three investigators greatly retarded the progress of our understanding of the nature and detail of the state's linguistic diversity. What Harrington published during his lifetime is only a tiny part of the material he collected and recorded; and Merriam published but little on California languages before his death in 1942. The present study will use material from all three of these men in an attempt to clarify the linguistic situation in a corner of California as it existed perhaps a century ago.


New Information on San Dieguito III Technology

In August, 1964, as our excavation project at the C.W. Harris site (Fig. 1) was nearing its end, data were recovered which should have been reported at once in order to alert others to the possibility of similar observations. This note is a belated effort to make the information available.

An Early Account of a Fired Clay Anthropomorphic Figurine from Marine County

In 1952, while clearing out a file. Dr. William Duncan Strong passed on to me a folder of scraps of notes about California ethnography and archaeology accumulated during his student days at Berkeley. One of these notes was a newspaper clipping which permits us to add one more specimen to the corpus of 40 fired clay figurines recorded from Marin County by Goerke and Davidson (1975) and one more site to the list of 15 from which they have been reported.

The original account appeared in the Oakland Tribune, October 21, 1924, under the byline of Frank Cliff, and it is here repeated with minor editorial emendations consisting primarily of the elimination of a now irrelevant speculation on how it might have been introduced by a traveling Hopi and how the Coast Miwok are related to the main body of Miwok speakers.

The 'Watcher's Stage' in Lower Colorado River Indian Agriculture

In our study of aboriginal agriculture in southern California, we have recently begun examining photographs of southern California Indians taken in the late historic period, looking for evidence of agriculture. The purpose of this brief report is to suggest by example how photographic images may aid in expanding or reinforcing our knowledge of native agricultural technology in the historic period. Analysis of such images can (1) reinforce ethnographic data by serving as a check on information derived from informants; (2) expand our knowledge of native agriculture in the historic period through providing new data; (3) inform us about acculturation in native agriculture (e.g., the borrowing of Spanish or American agricultural practices); and (4) possibly shed light on aboriginal agricultural practices that have extended into the historic period.


Additional Comments on Molpa Archaeological Site

In a recent review of the archaeological report on the site of Molpa, San Diego County, a number of important points were raised by Ken Hedges. This is not a reply to Hedges' review which is on the whole carefully thought out and more than fair. However, several points seem worth some additional comment.


Bennyhoff: Ethnogeography of the Plains Miwok

Ethnogeography of the Plains Miwok. James A. Bennyhoff. Davis, California: Center for Archaeological Research at Davis, Publication Number 5. 1977. 181 pp., maps, bibliography. $5.00.

Beidler: Fig Tree John. An Indian in Fact and Fiction

Fig Tree John. An Indian in Fact and Fiction.Peter G. Beidler. Tucson: University of Arizona Press. 1977. 152 pp., Illus. $4.95 (paper), $10.50 (hardbound).

Cressman: Prehistory of the Far West: Homes of Vanished Peoples

Prehistory of the Far West: Homes of Vanished Peoples.L.S. Cressman. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1977. 248 pp., 40 figs., 6 maps, 11 tables. $15.00.

Wilke and Lawton, eds.: The Expedition of Capt. J. W. Davidson from Fort Tejon to the Owens Valley in 1859

The Expedition of Capt J. W. Davidson from Fort Tejon to Owens Valley in 1859.Philip J. Wilke and Harry W. Lawton, eds. Socorro, New Mexico: Ballena Press Publications in Archeology. Ethnology, and History No. 8. 1976. 55 pp., 11 illustrations. $4.95 (paper).

Beard: The Wappo: A Report

The Wappo: A Report. Yolande S. Beard. St. Helena, Calif: Yolande S. Beard, P.O. Box 16, 84574. 1977. 80 pp., illustrations. $5.25 (paper).

Phillips: Chiefs and Challengers: Indian Resistance and Cooperation in Southern California

Chiefs and Challengers: Indian Resistance and Cooperation in Southern California.George Harwood Phillips. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1975. xi + 225 pp., illus. $10.95.

Greenwood: The Changing Faces of Main Street: San Buenaventura Mission Plaza Project Archeological Report, 1975

The Changing Faces of Main Street: San Buenaventura Mission Plaza Project Archaeological Report, 1975. Roberta S. Greenwood, ed. Ventura: City of San Buenaventura Redevelopment Agency, 1976. vii + 591 pp., figs., tables, photographs. $10.25.

Susman: The Round Valley Indians of California. An Unpublished Chapter in Acculturation in Seven (or eight) American Indian Tribes

The Round Valley Indians of California. An Unpublished Chapter in Acculturation in Seven (or eight) American Indian Tribes. Amelia Susman. Berkeley: University of California Archaeological Research Faculty Contributions No. 31. 1976.

Merriam: Ethnogeographic and Ethnosynonymic Data From Northern California Tribes

Ethnogeographic and Ethnosynonymic Data from Northern California Tribes. C. Hart Merriam (Assembled and edited by R.F. Heizer). Contributions to Native California Ethnology from the C. Hart Merriam Collection, No. 1. Berkeley: University of California Archaeological Research Faculty. 1976.

Merriam: Ethnogeographic and Ethnosynonymic Data from Central California Tribes

Ethnogeographic and Ethnosynonymic Data from Central California Tribes. C. Hart Merriam (Assembled and edited by R.F. Heizer). Contributions to Native California Ethnology from the C. Hart Merriam Collection, No. 2. Berkeley: University of California Archaeological Research Facility. 1977.