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Indian Tribes of Sequoia National Park Region
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The Tubatulabal

The degree to which the Tubatulabal language diverges from its Shoshonean kin shows that these people have been more or less isolated in their mountain home for a considerable period. Nevertheless, they were on friendly terms with their various neighbors on the western slope of the Sierra whom they often visited, and even joined during certain seasons. The legend that they raided the peaceable valley Yokuts from time to time is therefore pure fancy, without foundation.

The home of the Tubatulabal lay on the main and South Branches of the Kern River, their territory thus extending up the former to its headwaters in Sequoia Park. This was, however, too high to be settled permanently and served as no more than summer hunting territory. It is likely that Western Mono and possibly some Yokuts also visited this section, so that its assignment to the Tubatulabal follows mainly from its greater accessibility to them.

Tubatulabal is a Shoshonean term meaning "pine nut eaters".

Their former population may have numbered 1,000. In 1925 there were 100 to 150.

There is nothing published on the culture of the Tubatulabal except a few paragraphs in Kroeber's "Handbook of the Indians of California". A more complete ethnology will be available when Vogelin's data are published.

The Western Mono

The Western Mono territory comprises the western slope of the Sierra from the summit of the watershed to the lower country where they adjoined the foothill Yokuts, and between the Fresno and Tule Rivers. (For type, see Gayton, 1929-a, plates) The northern side of the Kaweah River was occupied by the Waksachi band, the southern side, by the Balwisha (Patwisha) band. Most of the season was naturally spent in the lower hills, as the high Sierra are accessible only in the summer.

Linguistically, they are close to the Owens Valley Paiute, varying from them chiefly as a dialect. This implies an ultimate eastern origin, indicating that they, like the Tubatulabal, are simply a Shoshonean people who, at some time in the past, pushed across the crest of the Sierra.

The Western Mono formerly probably numbered about 2,000; today they have about half that number. Like other remotely located tribes in California, their population has suffered less from the inroads of civilization than that of the formerly far more numerous but accessible peoples, such as the Yokuts.

Very little information is available on the Western Mono near Sequoia Park, except that contained in Gayton, 1929, 1930-a and 1930-b. The Northfork Mono, farther to the north, have been rather completely described in Gifford, 1932. The remaining Western Mono will be fully described when Gayton's researches are published.

The Yokuts1

The Yokuts occupy the greater part of the San Joaquin valley and the lower foothills of the Sierra to the east. (For type, see Kroeber, 1925, pl. 32 b,e.) They are subdivided into tribes, each numbering two to three hundred persons, and having a tribal name, dialect, and definite territory. The names are usually meaningless and end either in amni or a derivative of this or in chi. Neither the Yokuts nor their neighbors should be called "Mariposans".

The foothill tribes usually occupy smaller areas than those of the valley and are more distinctive in dialects. The tribe nearest Sequoia Park is the Yaudanchi. Of them, Kroeber says, (1825:479-480):

"The Yaudanchi or Yaulanchi (plural Yauedchani or Yawilchini), also called Nutaa (plural Nuchawayi), 'easterners, uplanders'—whence Garces's generic designation of the Yokuts as Noche—held Tule River in the foothills, especially the North and Middle Forks. One of their principal winter quarters was Shawahtau above Springville. Nearby was Ukunui ('drink'); and house pits at Uchiyingetau ('markings') at the painted rocks, and at Tungoshud ('gate') near the agency, on Tule River Reservation, hark back either to Yaudanchi or Bokninuwad occupancy. In spring and early summer they gathered seeds in the vicinity of Lindsay; in late summer or fall they met with other tribes in Koyeti territory about Porterville for fishing and elk hunting. In dry and hungry seasons, the southern end of Tulare Lake would be frequented in search of tule roots. All the Yokuts tribes from the Kaweah River south, except perhaps the Wowol and Chunut of Tulare Lake, and at least most of the adjacent Shoshoneans, were friendly and appear to have ranged over one another's territory amicably and almost at will..."

To the west of Sequoia Park were the Wukehamni Yokuts of whom Kroeber (p.480) says :

"The Wukahamni, Wikchamni, or Wikchomni (plural Wukachmina or Wikatsmina), whose name was a byword for "glutton", and who may be the Buesanet of Graces, wintered on Kaweah River near Lemon Cove and Iron Bridge and frequented the adjacent hills in summer."

The Yokuts have been relatively completely described by Kroeber in the "Handbook of the Indians of California". More material will be available when Gayton's researches are published.

1. (Yokuts is the singular form.)

The Owens Valley Paiute

The Owens Valley Paiute belong to an extensive group known generically as the Northern Paiute (in western Nevada as the Paviotso), which extends through eastern California and western Nevada into eastern Oregon. (For types, see Steward, 1933, plates, 1, 5, 8). The Northern Paiute are subdivided into local groups of several hundred individuals each. Each group or tribe owns and controls definitely demarked sections of territory and varies slightly in dialect from the others.

Within these tribal territories were a number of villages. In winter the people lived in Owens Valley or at the edge of the timber in the Inyo mountains where pinenuts were stored. Spring and summer brought considerable wandering within tribal territory in search of wild seeds and game. In the fall there was a communal hunt, dances, and pinenut harvest.

There was a good deal of intercourse with the tribes west of the Sierra during the summer, many trips being made for the purpose of trade. Inter-marriage with these tribes was not in frequent. Thus, there was an exchange of ideas which tended to level down the effect of environment. A general description of the Owens Valley Paiute will be found in Steward, 1933.

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