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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Volume 21, Issue 2, 1999

Issue cover


A "New'' Choris Watercolor

Louis Choris was one of the most talented artists of California Native American life during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Recently, a previously unknown watercolor by Choris was discovered at the Estonian History Museum. This discovery highlights the importance of searching for further undiscovered treasures in European repositories.

The Communal Pronghorn Hunt: A Review of the Ethnographic and Archaeological Evidence

A review of the available archaeological, ethnographic, and historical data reveals that there is compelling evidence for communal pronghorn hunting across western North America in the protohistoric and early historic periods. The evidence is particularly compelling for the Great Basin, where corrals were in common use, as well as for the Great Plains, where drives into corrals or pits were common. Evidence for such activities in the remote past, including projectile point concentrations, hunting facilities, and bonebed sites, is considerably sparser and more ambiguous. Nonetheless, it appears that communal pronghorn hunting did not decrease through time, but rather was maintained or has increased within the last 1,500 years.

On the Fault Line: Political Violence at Campo Fiesta and National Reform in Indian Policy

When federally appointed Indian Agency policemen, reinforced by county sheriffs, arrested two Indians suspected of selling alcohol at the Campo Reservation fiesta in San Diego County in 1927, the Mission Indian Federation (MIF) police protested and freed the prisoners. This sparked a violent confrontation, during which the Campo MIF captain and judge were killed. The causes for the political violence are situated in the disagreements between the MIF and the Office of Indian Affairs over jurisdictional questions. It is argued that the confrontation had an important impact on national Indian policy.

Point Conception and the Chumash Land of the Dead: Revisions from Harrington's Notes

This article reconsiders anthropologists' depictions of Chumash people's past beliefs regarding the journey of the soul to the land of the dead based on the ethnographic fieldnotes of J. P. Harrington. Included is an examination of the microfilmed original Harrington notes that have not been altered substantively by anthropologists' editing, as have previously published versions. Fieldnotes that had been overlooked or hitherto unreported are incorporated into the picture, and once unavailable biographical information on Harrington's consultants is used to establish the sociocultural settings that influenced how they understood the past. The results suggest that recent anthropological reporting has distorted the ethnohistoric record, creating a certain image of Chumash tradition in the late twentieth century. Our findings challenge depictions of uniform past Chumash belief in Point Conception as a departure point for souls on their journey to the land of the dead, and contradict representations of Harrington's consultants as adherents to permission religious practices. We are left with a more diverse, yet somewhat vague, picture of past beliefs and practices.

Middle Holocene Fisheries of the Central Santa Barbara Channel, California: Investigations at CA-SBA-53

Studies of fish remains have contributed substantially to current thinking on cultural development in the Santa Barbara Channel region. While several intensive studies of fish remains from Late Holocene and some Early Holocene sites have been conducted, there are virtually no comprehensive studies offish remains from a Middle Holocene site in the Santa Barbara region.

Middle Holocene Fishing and Maritime Adaptations at CA-SNI-161, San Nicolas Island, California

Along the southern California coast, the development of intensive fishing has long been considered to be a relatively recent phenomenon. In this article, we present dietary reconstructions from CA-SNI- 161, a multicomponent San Nicolas Island archaeological site occupied between about 5,400 and 2,900 years ago. We focus on the contribution of edible meat and animal protein to the diet of the islanders and examine dietary changes through time. Our dietary reconstructions suggest that fish and shellfish provided most of the meat and protein consumed at the site. Birds were of minor dietary significance and sea mammals of intermediate importance. The data suggest that at some localities along the southern California coast, relatively intensive fishing developed earlier than previously believed.


Early Pottery from Sunga Va and Implications for the Development of Ceramic Technology in Owens Valley, California

Pottery from Sunga'va, a single-component Haiwee period site (ca. 1,150 B.P.) in southern Owens Valley, was analyzed by Instrumental Neutron Activation Analysis within a larger study of western Great Basin ceramics. The discovery of pottery in a Haiwee Period site positions the advent of ceramic technology in Owens Valley some 500 years earlier than previously thought. Analyses indicate that the pottery was made from local sedimentary clays collected in or near Owens Lake.


Gutierrez and Orsi, eds.: Contested Eden: California Before the Gold Rush

Contested Eden: California Before the Gold Rush. Ramon A. Gutierrez and Richard J. Orsi, eds. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998, xi + 395 pp., 13 color photographs, 76 black and white photographs, 5 maps, $60.00 (hard cover), $27.50 (paper).

Young: The Ute Indians of Colorado in the Twentieth Century

The Ute Indians of Colorado in the Twentieth Century. Richard K. Young. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1997, xiii + 290 pp., maps, photographs, index, bibliography, $29.95.

Shepherd: In My Own Words: Stories, Songs, and Memories of Grace McKibbin, Wintu

In My Own Words: Stories, Songs, and Memories of Grace McKibbin, Wintu. Alice Shepherd. Berkeley: Heyday Books, 1997, 240 pp., pronunciation guide, references, phonology, photograph, $14.00 (paper).