Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

Volume 4, Issue 2, 1982

Issue cover


Vegetation Burning by the Chumash

It is therefore the purpose of this paper to call attention to the ethnohistoric evidence which shows that the Chumash did deliberately use fire in ways which may have had pronounced long-term environmental effects, and to demonstrate that encouragement of growth of certain plant resources was the principal reason for the practice of burning.

Regional Variation in Maidu Coiled Basketry Materials and Technology

This paper is an attempt to clarify some ideas about the materials and techniques used in their construction. Thus, we are not proposing new theories and methods in an area where taxonomic principles already exist. Rather, we are using already existent principles of classification that appear to coincide with Maiduan views of world order.

Cultural Persistence in Nevada: Current Native American Issues

The present paper identifies the network of Indian communities spread across the state and attempts to demonstrate how many of the expressed concerns are deep-seated in Indian-white relations extending back over 150 years. Not fully considered below are cultural persistence factors involving religious beliefs, ceremonial activities and many aspects of social organization (Harris 1940; Freed and Freed 1963; Downs 1966: 108; Shimken and Reid 1970; Knack 1980), and the effects of resource conflicts on belief systems (Stewart 1944; d'Azevedo 1978a).

The Alliklik-Tataviam Problem

Not wishing to see such confusion continue, it is my purpose here to attempt to clarify what is known from what is assumed, what is explicit from what is implicit, and what the limited data at hand currently support in the way of hypotheses on who these people were and what language they spoke. Since the nature of the problem focuses upon linguistic identities and ethnic boundaries, the organization of this paper will follow accordingly.

Two Milling Stone Inventories from Northern San Diego County, California

The purpose of the present paper is to add to the existing data base two previously undescribed Pauma Complex artifact inventories. We recognize that our presentation is descriptive and contains no recognizable research design. It has no list or discussion of local plants, no discussion of regional rainfall figures, and no significant comments on the local geology. These omissions are not accidental. While we recognize the need for such information under some circumstances, and are fully cognizant of the many unresolved local theoretical issues, it is our opinion that such matters are best developed in other contexts, and when dealing with substantially larger artifact samples.

Notes on the Coso Petroglyphs, the Etiological Mythology of the Western Shoshone, and the Interpretation of Rock Art

Although the Grant hypothesis is provocative, the absence of any remains indicative of intensive sheep hunting in the excavations of the Rose Spring, Stahl and other sites in the region has been problematical. An examination of the etiological mythology of the Numic speakers of the western Great Basin, however, provides insight into the symbolic significance of the bighorn sheep to the historic aboriginal inhabitants of this area. This suggests that while the hypothesized, formal sheep-hunting cult may be an oversimplification of the prehistoric situation, there was an ideological and mythological preoccupation with hunting specifically the bighorn sheep, and this animal served as a symbolic referent to male sexual and hunting success.

Victorian Costuming of the Southern Sierra Miwok: 1851-1875

Examination of late 19th century Southern Sierra Miwok costuming provides valuable insight into a post-contact Central California culture. Major shifts in clothing style and material are a visible and dynamic indicator of cultural change, sometimes associated with sociopolitical tension (Kroeber 1963: 22), although this point has been argued (Young 1937: 41). In the case of the Yosemite Miwok, the 'tension' created by contact in 1851 resulted in the replacement of buckskin skirts and breech clouts by cloth dresses and pants (Barrett and Gifford 1933: 220; Bureau of Indian Affairs 1951: 1-19; Borlase 1875: 207-211).

On the Road to Goleta

The discovery in 1981 of a trunk full of material belonging to the American anthropologist, John Peabody Harrington, has elicited interest among California anthropologists for the ethnographic notes and personal papers it contained. Among the items found in the trunk were correspondence, news clippings, and other material that present insight into Harrington's career choices just as he was embarking on his life's work. It is the intent of the authors to describe this material and attempt to show how it sheds light on the forces that moved Harrington in the direction of American anthropology.

Kumeyaay Socio-Political Structure

The correlation of ethnographic with ethnohistoric and Mission Register data has clarified the analysis of Kumeyaay political structure by confirming the fact that the Kwaaypaay was not a "born" member of his band. He was not the head of the largest shiimull in a band, but was normally the only adult male of that sib in the band. This structure contrasts with that of the Cahuilla and the San Luiseno where the "Captains" were the heads of the largest lineages. The crosscutting of the shiimull organization by the territorial band organization increased the tribal or national level of Kumeyaay integration. Ethnohistoric data noting rapid communication of information between the Colorado River and the coast supports the ethnographic description of a nationally organized relay runner or courier system. This national organization of the shiimull/hands, with alliance leaders or Kuuchult kwataay, facilitated the shifting of population under erratic climatic conditions that were almost constantly affecting local resource availability. Furthermore, this complex structure integrated movement between ecological zones which required a variety of food-resource acquisition techniques. This included movement from the coast to the desert by way of foothills and mountains, and subsistence-related pursuits ranging from fishing to hunting, to desert riverine plant husbandry including irrigation farming (Shipek 1977, 1981, 1982, n.d.b).