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

p. 311


While the Tapakwirp is in progress, the old dancers gather in a second enclosure at some distance from the assemblage. After the conclusion of the dance they appear one by one and come part of the way to the dance-circle. Each one imitates as far as he can the actions and manner of the dead man. Amid great wailing and crying on the part of the spectators he then returns to the small inclosure. After all have done this, the entire company of dancers appear, crawling on their hands and knees. As they crawl they make animal noises. Each one is painted with the footprint of the animal about which he dreamed when he took the toloache. Every man imitates as far as he can the sound which his particular animal is in the habit of making. Continuing this crawling posture, the dancers advance to the dance-circle and seat themselves about its edge. When they are seated the dead person's headplume, talo, is set upright in the center. At a signal the company then move their hands together with a solemn gesture to the left, and then to the right, each time with a long-drawn grunting sound. Then they toss their hands upward twice with an expulsion of the breath each time, finishing with two quick gestures and two expulsions of the breath.

This ceremony, called the otcam, is intended to keep the dead person from coming back; or, as one informant put it, "to make him done with this world." 87 The dead person's plume is then buried in the center of the circle, the company grunting three times, and at the third time shoving in the dirt from all sides.


311:87 The Luiseño term unish matakish (DuBois, op. cit., p. 92) applied to a corresponding ceremony has a similar meaning. Unish is not recognized at the present time. Matakish or matakihish is a verbal noun from the causative stem of mati, "send away". The meaning of the term is "the causing to send one thing away"; "to loosen or untie it".

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