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Ethnography of the Cahuilla Indians, by A. L. Kroeber, [1908], at


The ceremonial implements of the Cahuilla have practically disappeared. A few simple feather-ornaments worn by the medicine

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men in dancing can still be seen. More elaborate objects must have been used in former times. The present-day ornaments consist of owl or hawk feathers. These are usually mounted in bunches or tufts on sticks so as to stand upright. Occasionally, however, they are pendant bunches, hanging from a stick. They come in sets of threes. A bunch is worn on each side of the head, supported by a band passing around the forehead, and the third is carried in the dancer's hand.

The principal dancing regalia of the Luiseño seem to have been a short skirt or apron of eagle or condor feathers hanging from a network of string, and long flat bands of feathers. The latter resemble the familiar forehead-bands of yellowhammer quills sewed side by side, which are so typical of central California. The Luiseño bands are however mostly made of dark or black quills, and are wider and longer. It is not unlikely that the Cahuilla formerly had such ornaments.

A gourd rattle obtained among the desert Cahuilla is identical with Mohave gourd rattles except for being unpainted, like a Chemehuevi rattle in the University Museum, whereas Mohave rattles are usually red. If the Cahuilla of aboriginal times used such rattles they must have obtained them by trade, as they did not practice agriculture or raise gourds. That there was such trade with the region to the east is probable from what Dr. Barrows says of the established trail through the Chemehuevi country, and also from the fact that a Cahuilla declared to the author that the red paint used by his people came from Arizona. The Mohave obtained their red paint, or the best of it, from the Walapai to the east.

It does not seem that any of the Cahuilla still possess shell beads. These were of the thin curved type made from Olivella or other univalve shells. Beads of this form are found in great quantities in burials in the Santa Barbara region, where they appear to have been the most common form of currency. They differ from the thick, flat, disk-like, larger beads made from clams or similar shells, which are typical of Central California. A number of the thin Olivella beads, calcined black, have been found near the old Cahuilla village site at Indian Wells. They had apparently been burned with the dead or for them. These

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beads were well rounded. A string of similar beads, now in the University collections, is from the Luiseño of San Jacinto. The wear on these beads shows them to possess some age, but they have been rudely chopped into shape and never ground round. Strung beads were measured in a certain way around the circumference of the hand. This practice is found among the Luiseño, the Yokuts, probably the Gabrielino, Serrano, and Chumash, and perhaps among other tribes.

The accompanying plate 13 shows a number of shell disk beads from various parts of California. In the upper left-hand corner are the Luiseño beads mentioned. It will be seen that the outline is much less regular than in any of the other specimens. To the right are similar beads from Santa Catalina island and from Point Sal in Santa Barbara county. The second row of figures shows beads from Santa Rosa island. Of these the first three groups are of the same concave type as the preceding. The fifth group is made of thin pieces of haliotis. The third row on the plate shows beads from shellmounds about San Francisco bay. The first three, which are from burials in the Emeryville shellmound, are of the concave Southern California type. The square beads are from the West Berkeley mound and are unusual. They are not made from univalves, but apparently from mussel or haliotis. The lowest row on the plate shows beads of the thick Central California type, apparently all made from clams. The first, to the left, is from the Pomo Indians. The second has passed through fire and was excavated in Napa county. The third is from a prehistoric site near Stockton, and the last, in the lower right-hand corner of the plate, from the modern Maidu Indians. The difference between the typical forms of Southern and Central California is obvious, but it appears that at least some of the prehistoric inhabitants of the shellmounds on San Francisco bay used the southern form of bead.

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