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The Culture of the Luiseño Indians, by Philip Stedman Sparkman, [1908], at

p. 215


There was no government worthy the name among the Luiseños, in which respect they seem not to have differed from most Indians of California.

Each clan 4 appears to have inhabited a separate village, and to have been a law unto itself.

One sometimes hears of the power exercised by chiefs in other parts of America, but the Luiseños seem to have been more democratic. There appear to be no legends of powerful chiefs.

The religious chief of each clan seems to have possessed the most power, all matters pertaining to religion being under his control. This office was hereditary, though in some cases it might pass out of the direct line of descent, as when the heir was incapable of performing the duties. Women in some cases held the office.

The office of chief of the rabbit hunt was hereditary. Presumably the medicine man possessed a certain amount of governmental power.

It is certain that the Indians fought at times, and it would seem that on such occasions they must of necessity have had a leader.


215:4 The term clan here and in the following pages appears to be the equivalent of the word band in the introduction. No mention is made by the author or by any other of clan-totemism. It would seem that the Luiseño clan or band was similar to the semi-totemic clans of the Mohave but without the totemism; or to the village of the greater part of California, with perhaps greater emphasis on real or imagined kinship and descent.

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