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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Volume 2, Issue 1, 1980

Issue cover


Memorial to Jane K. Penn (1910-1980)

Jane K. Penn, founder of Malki Museum Inc., and a nationally known leader in American Indian affairs, passed away on March 22 at Loma Linda University Medical Center after a lengthy illness which she fought vigorously for months. Jane Penn (Juanita to some of her older friends) was an energetic, assertive, and active person who did not easily succumb to any circumstances that didn't suit her clearly seen objectives. Yet even during her last months she continued as long as she could to direct the affairs of Malki Museum from her bedside, making the same firm demands upon herself that she had made through a lifetime of service to her people.

Memorial to Ruby Eleanor Modesto (1913-1980)

In many ways, Ruby appears to have come into her own during the last two decades of her life. Her association with Douglas Fain of Indio led to a deep interest in Cahuilla prehistory. It was while this interest was developing that I met her. Her concern over the loss of traditional culture led to her undertaking a tutorial program for the local Cahuilla children, emphasizing teaching the native language. This program is continuing under the direction of her husband, David, whom she married in 1935. Those of us in the anthropological community who knew Ruby miss her both as a sincere friend and a knowledgeable consultant on Desert Cahuilla culture.


History of Great Basin Anthropological Research, 1776-1979

Collection of information on indigenous Great Basin peoples and cultures began in 1776 (Bolton 1950). However, it was not until the I860's that any sort of systematic research program was initiated in ethnography and linguistics. Physical anthropological studies were not undertaken until the 1880's, and systematic archaeological work did not begin until after 1900. This article reviews the principal programs of research in Great Basin anthropology carried on since the 1860's, with a brief examination of earlier developments.

The Luiseño Girls' Ceremony

One of the most striking characteristics of Luiseno culture is the integration of philosophy, theology, customs, material items, and environment. The Luiseno world is linked through concepts which are inclusive, expansive, and harmonious. The high degree of integration is difficult to express or explain simply, but can be demonstrated through example. In this paper, the ceremony to celebrate the maturation of girls (referred to as the girls' ceremony) is described, annotated, and compared to the Luiseno cosmogony or creation story in order to reveal the Luiseno worldview. During the weqennic and yuninnic the girls participated in a ritualized reenactment of the creation and ordering of the world. Their place and purpose in life were revealed, and they then hopefully experienced a continuity between their lives, their ancestors, and the past which extended to the beginning of time.

Sex Differences in Quechan Narration

Quechan storytelling is not yet a lost art, but it is well on the way to becoming one. The decline is comparatively recent. Even people in their 30's, as well as those older than that, remember with pleasure being put to sleep by tales told by their elders, and when a storyteller is now available who will narrate such tales, there are always eager listeners to hear him. At the present time, however, the number of narrators who are confident of their ability to tell the stories is small indeed.

Inferences Regarding Aboriginal Hunting Behavior in the Saline Valley, Inyo County, California

The documented use of stone "hunting blinds" behind which marksmen hid themselves "ventre a terre" (Baillie-Grohman 1884: 168) waiting for sheep to be driven along trails, can be found in the writings of a number of early historians (Baillie-Grohman 1884; Spears 1892; Muir 1901; Bailey 1940). Recent archaeological discoveries of rock features believed to be hunting blinds at the Upper Warm Springs (Fig. I) in Saline Valley, Inyo County, California, provide a basis to substantiate, build upon, and evaluate these observations and the ethnographic descriptions of hunting in the Great Basin (Steward 1933, 1938, 1941; Driver 1937; Voegelin 1938; Stewart 1941). An examination of these features, their location, orientation, and associations in conjunction with ethological attributes, strongly support the notion of a hunting function, and the argument is made that Desert Bighorn Sheep (Ovis canadensis nelsoni) were the primary target of this activity with perhaps a secondary emphasis on hunting of Pronghorn Antelope (Antilocapra americana).

Chemehuevi Shamanism, Sorcery, and Charms

Since the pattern for all human behavior was believed to have been set in the mythic era, it follows that the paradigm for every type of magical practice, whether for curing or for cursing, for summoning the forces of nature, for protecting one's self, or for influencing others, must have been established by the Early People. There were indeed shamans in the time when the animals were people, and those who were shamans in that period became the helpers, the indispensable spirit-animal familiars (tutuguuvimi) of human shamans. Who or what, then, were the shamans' helpers in the storytime? Then as now the first step toward becoming a shaman was the acquisition of a song; but whom or what did the songs of the mythical shamans summon?

Two Southern California Trade Trails

It is generally considered by historians that Spanish overland communication from Upper California to Mexico by way of Sonora ceased with the abandonment of the Anza Trail after the Colorado River Campaign of 1781-1783. Communication was maintained by sea, either direct from ports in Upper California or by courier to Lower California and thence to the mainland by sea (Brumgardt 1976:83).

A Historic Aboriginal Structure and Its Associations, Panamint Mountains, California

Generally, standing aboriginal structures relate to late prehistoric and historic times; the Panamint Mountains example is no exception. Of course, there are many southern California Native American groups and individuals who retain knowledge of the construction techniques or have recently built such structures. Many early ethnographers observed aboriginal structures either still in use or recently abandoned within California and the Great Basin (cf. Nelson 1891:372; Dutcher 1893:377-378; Harrington 1932; Steward 1933:265, 1938:54- 55, 1941:233; Fowler and Fowler 1971), so there are many good descriptions or illustrations of a variety of structure types.

Fish Remains from the Karlo Site (CA-Las-7), Lassen County, California

This paper describes fish remains included among the archaeological materials recovered from the Karlo site (CA-Las-7), Lassen County, California, during the summer of 1955 by Francis A. Riddell and his associates, of the University of California Archaeological Survey (Riddell 19566:63, 1960^:3). In using this designation rather than Las-7, which was used for the Karlo site by Riddell (1960a:2), I follow Heizer (1968).


The Chumash Revolt of 1824: Another Native Account From the Notes of John P. Harrington

Blackburn (1975a), while researching the ethnographic notes of John P. Harrington, located an Inesedo Chumash account of the 1824 revolt against the missions. Apparently, the note had been recorded in 1914, some 90 years or so after this important historic event had taken place. The consultant was Maria Solares, a nonparticipant, who had passed on to Harrington what she had heard from her older relatives and friends.


An Early Acorn Cache from Central California

The antiquity of acorn processing has been a major concern of archaeologists because of its paramount importance in the historic subsistence economy of native Central California. In the lower Central Valley acorn use is amply documented for Middle period (post-500 B.C.) and succeeding cultures, but whether the Early period peoples of the region shared this well known pattern has been a focus for debate. This paper presents the first direct evidence for acorn use during that period.

Fish Remains from Nahas Cave: Archaeological Evidence of Anadromous Fishes in Southwestern Idaho

The anadromous fish runs of the Snake and Owyhee rivers and their tributaries have provided an important element of interpretations of native subsistence in southwestern Idaho (see Butler 1978:30-31; Pavesic 1978; Swanson 1965). Prior to the development of major water control systems in the Northwest, anadromous fishes migrated as far east in the Snake River as Shoshone Falls, located adjacent to the present city of Twin Falls, Idaho, and into the Owyhee River (Evermann 1896, 1897; see also Steward 1938:165-168). Further accounts suggest that some anadromous fishes found their way into the Bruneau River west of Shoshone Falls (Gilbert and Evermann 1894) and into the Jarbidge River, a primary tributary of the Bruneau, by which they entered Nevada (La Rivers and Trelease 1952:113) (see Fig. 1). Steward (1938:167-168) reported two major spring salmon runs and a fall salmon run of lesser magnitude. The first salmon run, referred to as tahma agai or spring salmon, occurred during March or April and probably consisted of the salmon or Steelhead Trout, Salmo gairdnerii. While belonging to the family Salmonidae, these fish are not true salmon (see Casteel 1976: 89). A late spring run occurred in May or June and consisted of the Chinook Salmon Oncorhynchus tshawytscha, locally named taza agai or summer salmon (Steward 1938:167).

A Reassessment of the Nutritional Value of Pinus monophylla

The growing field of paleo-nutrition calls for ever more precise data. Whereas P. monophylla has been accepted as an important vegetal food for the Great Basin peoples, the nutritional data show it to be an even more remarkable food item than it appeared to be based on the earlier and more commonly used analytic report. In particular, the former emphasis on the exceedingly high fat content must be reconsidered. The importance of this high carbohydrate food item in the Great Basin may well lie in the lack of such food products as acorns (as in California) or corn (as in New Mexico and Arizona). To each of these food items, by contrast, the nutritional qualities of the dominant pine nuts in each area would seem quite complementary. Further nutritional research will shed greater light on the accuracy of this conclusion.


Comment on Drover's Proposed Seasonality Method

In the Winter 1974 issue of The Journal of California Anthropology, Christopher Drover described his preliminary work on a method which uses growth rings from two species of archaeologically recovered Chione for deriving seasonality data, or the season(s) when food resources were exploited. Drover's method draws heavily on Barker's (1970) and Berry's (1972) studies of growth periodicity in Chione clams. The method is based on the idea that in both C. undatella and C. fluctifraga, the pelecypods' mantles generally contract and cease the secretion of calcium carbonate during the colder winter periods. When a shell's growth is relatively inactive, a semiopaque concentric annual groove will be externally visible. A winter death should be marked by such an incipient groove ("major groove," "disturbance groove," or "annual groove") at the ventral margin of a shell. Death at other seasons, it is argued, can be estimated from the shell's growth since the last winter groove was formed.


Brief Notes on Recent Publications

Inland Chumash Archaeology: An Annotated Bibliography. Helen F. Wells and C. William Clewlow, Jr. Los Angeles: University of California Institute of Archaeology Occasional Paper No. 4, 35 pp., 1979. Entries for three categories: I, Archaeology, 114; II, Village and Place Names and Locations, 10; and III, Selected Bibliographies, 6.

Bard, Busby, and Kobori: Ezra's Retreat: A Rockshelter/Cave Occupation Site in the North Central Great Basin

Ezra's Retreat: A Rockshelter/Cave Occupation Site in the North Central Great Basin.James C. Bard, Colin I. Busby and Larry S. Kobori. Davis: University of California Center for Archaeological Research at Davis Publication No. 6, xi + 255 pp., 3 plates, 4 maps, 45 figures, 32 tables, 6 appendices, $6.50 (paper).

Merriam: Indian Names for Plants and Animals Among Californian and Other Western North American Tribes

Indian Names for Plants and Animals Among Californian and Other Western North American Tribes. C. Hart Merriam (assembled and annotated by Robert F. Heizer). Socorro, New Mexico: Ballena Press Publications in Archaeology, Ethnology, and History No. 14, 1979, 296 pp., 3 appendices, $12.95 (paper).

Xántus: Travels in Southern California.

Travels in Southern California.John Xantus. Translated and edited by Theodore Schoenman and Helen Benedek Schoenman. With an introduction by Theodore Schoenman. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1976, 212 pp., illustrations.

Heizer and Kroeber: Ishi the Last Yahi: A Documentary History

Ishi the Last Yahi: A Documentary History.Robert F. Heizer and Theodora Kroeber, eds. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1979, 242 pp., $17.50 (hardbound).

Fell: Saga America

Saga America.Barry Fell. New York: Times Books, 1980, 425 pp., $15.00 (hardback).

Van Camp: Kumeyaay Pottery—Paddle and Anvil Techniques of Southern California.

Kumeyaay Pottery—Paddle and A nvil Techniques of Southern California.Gena R. Van Camp. Socorro, New Mexico: Ballena Press Anthropological Papers No, 15, 1979, 104 pp., 15 illustrations, 3 maps, $6.95 (paper).

Beers: Spanish & Mexican Records of the American Southwest

Spanish & Mexican Records of the American Southwest.Henry Putney Beers. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1979,493 pp., $8.95 paper, $18.50 cloth.

Munro: Mojave Syntax; and Gorbet: A Grammar of Diegeño Nominals

Mojave Syntax.Pamela Munro. New York: Garland Publishing, Inc., Garland Studies in American Indian Linguistics, 1976, xiii + 330 pp., $33.00. A Grammar of Diegueño Nominals. Larry Paul Gorbet. New York: Garland Publishing, Inc., Garland Studies in American Indian Linguistics, 1976, xiii + 237 pp., $33.00.