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Religious Practices of the Diegueño Indians, by T.T. Waterman, [1910], at

p. 292


With such matters the time elapsed day by day until the girls could no longer endure the inaction of remaining in the pit. As each girl surrendered and came out, she took off her garland and her hair bracelets and left them in the pit to be burned with the brush when the whole ceremony was completed. 49 One informant at Los Conejos spoke of the girls leaving the pit at the end of about a week. According to him, they were then put in a row face downward while four grown women walked on their backs. This was to make them straight. While one woman walked, the others stood at the girls’ feet, covering their faces with their hands. For the first month after leaving the pit the faces of these girls were painted black with straw-charcoal. Through the second month they were painted red with vertical stripes, axwitc, of black. Throughout the third month the pattern was a series of horizontal stripes of black, xicamkwir, on a red background. For at least six months after first entering the pit they were supposed to abstain from meat and salt, and to eat very slowly. Otherwise they would be gluttonous in after life. If they abstained, they would live long. At the end of this period they were given a little meat, just a taste. As soon as they began to eat meat their faces were no longer painted.

The corresponding ceremony among the southern Diegueño differed slightly from that performed near Mesa Grande. Only two kinds of herbs seem to have been put by the people of the south into the pit with the girls. They were willow, ayau, and white sage, biltai. Informants at Campo denied that they used the crescent-stone there. The girls seem to have remained in the pit for a definite period of seven days. In place of the headdress already described they wore a wreath of yellow flowers, miltasiw. It is denied in the southern region that the girls were given the tobacco-water to drink, as was the case among the Luiseño and the northern Diegueño. 50 They are said also

p. 293

to have worn skirts of willow-bark, caiyula, fastened to a belt of milkweed fibre. Mention is made at Campo of a daily bath taken by all the girls during the progress of the ceremony. 51 The Diegueño, whenever questioned, say that the purpose of the ceremony is to make the girls live long.

In the corresponding Luiseño ceremony 52 the girls are said to have had a footrace and to have painted the rocks in the neighborhood of their village. Rock-paintings exist in the Diegueño country, but are said to have been made by the boys in connection with another ceremony, the description of which is as follows:


292:49 According to an informant at Mesa Grande, they were sunk or "buried" in a large spring near the location of the present rancheria at that place.

292:50 DuBois, op. cit., pp. 94, 176; Am. Anthr., n.s. VIII, 32, 1906.

293:51 In Luiseño, the word "to menstruate the first time," aci, is a specific use of the general word which means "to bathe."

293:52 DuBois, present series, op. cit., pp. 96, 174.

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