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Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 10.djvu/425

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and collections therein noted. Among the important single studies are a "Grammar of the Mutsun Lan- guage " by Fr. Arroyo de la Cuesta, published in Shea's "American Linguistics ", IV ( ls(jl ) ; a Chumashan (?) catechism and prayer manual by Fr. Mariano Payeras of Purisima, about IS 10, noted by Bancroft; and a MS. grammar and dictionary of the Luisefio lan- guage, by Sparkman, now awaiting publication by the University of California. The missionaries were more than once urged in prefectual letters to acquire the na- tive languages in order better to reach the Indians, and in ISlo the official report states that religious in- struction was given both in Indian and Spanish.

III. Arts, Custom, and Ritual. — The Indians of California constituted aculture body essentially distinct from all the tribes east of the Sierras. The most obvi- ous characteristic of this culture was its negative qual- ity, the alisence of those features which dominated tribal life elsewhere. There was practically no tribal organization and in most cases not even a tribal name, the rancheria, or village settlement, usually merely a larger family group, being the ordinary social and gov- ernmental unit, whose people had no common desig- nation for themselves, and none for their neighbours excepting directional names having no reference to linguistic or other affiliation. Chiefs were almost without authority, except as messengers of the will of the priests or secret society leaders. The clan system is held by most investigators to have been entirely wanting, although Merriam claims to have foun<l evi- dence of it among the Miwok and Yokuts. Excepting basketry, all their arts were of the crudest develop- ment, potteiy being found only in the extreme south, while agriculture was entirely unknown. Both men- tally and physically they represented one of the lowest types on the continent. The ordinary house struc- ture throughout the mission area was a conical frame- work of poles thatched with rushes and covered with earth, built over a circular excavation of about two feet deep. The fire was built in the centre, and the occupants sat or lay aliout it, upon skins or sage bushes, without beds or other furniture. The Galli- nomero, north of »San Francisco Bay, built a conmiunal house of L shape, with a row of fires down the centre, one for each family. The "sweat-hou.se", for hot baths and winter ceremonies, was like the circular lodge, but much larger. The dance place or medicine lodge was a simple circular inclosure of brushwood open to the sky, with the sacrifice poles and other ceremonial objects.

Agriculture being lmkno\^'n, the fooil supply was obtained in part by liunting and fishing, l.uit mostly by the gathering of wild seeds, nuts, and berries. The islanders lived almost entirely by sea-fishing, while about San Francisco they depended mainly on the salmon. The Chumashan coast tribes fished from large dugout canoes. Hunting was usually confined to small game, particularly rabbits and jackrabbits, the larger animals being generally protected by some re- ligious taboo. On accovmt of a prevalent ritual idea which forbade the hunter to eat game of his own killing, men generally hunted in pairs and exchanged the re- sult, (irasshoiipers were driven into pits and roasted as a dainty, .\mong vegetable foods the acorn was finst in importance, being gathered and stored in large quantities, pounded into meal in stone mortars or ground on metates, leached with water to remove the bitterness, and cooked as mush (porridge) or bread. Wild rice was also a staple in places, wliile in the blos- som season whole communities lived for weeks vipon raw clover tops. The men went nearly or entirely naked, excepting for a skin robe over the .shoulders in cold weather. Women usually wore a short, skirt with fringes of woven or twisted bark fibre. Both sexes commonly kept their hair at full length, but bunched up behind. Some b.ands shaved one side of the head. Tattooing was practised by both sexes to some extent.


Shell beads were used for necklace purposes, and eagle and other feathers for head adornments. Dance- leaders and priests at ceremonial functions wore feather crowns and short skirts trimmed with feathers. Light sandals were sometimes worn. Musical instru- ments were the rattle, flute, and bone whistle. The drum was imknown. Weapons were the bow and ar- row, wooden club, stone knife, and a curved throwing stick for hunting rabbits. Cremation was universal, excepting in the Chumashan. Marriage and divorce were simple, and polygamy was frequent.

Of the mj'thology and ceremonial of the coast tribes of the mission area northwards from Los Angeles we know almost nothing, as the Indians have perished without investigation, but the indications are that they resembled those of the known interior and south- em trilies. For these our best authorities are the missionary Boscana, Powers, Merriam, and especially the ethnologists of the University of California. The southern tribes — Juaneiio, Luiseiio, Diegueno, etc. — ba.se their ritual and ceremonial upon a creation myth in which Ouiot.or Wiyot, figures as the culture hero of an earlier creation in which mankind is not yet en- tirely differentiated from the animals, while Chungich- nish (Chinigchinich of Boscana) appears as the lord and rulerof the second and perfected creation, which, however, is a direct evolution from the first. The orig- inal creators are Heaven and Earth, personified as brother and sister. The rattlesnake, the tarantula, and more particularly the lightning and the eagle, are the messengers and avengers of Chungichnish. In the Diegueno myth the whole living creation issues from the body of a great serpent.

The principal ceremonies, still enacted within re- cent memory, were the girls' puberty ceremony, the boys' initiation, and the annual mourning rite. In the puberty ceremony the several girls of the village who had attained the menstrual age at about the same time were stretched upon a bed of fresh and fragrant herbs in a pit previously heated by means of a large fire, and, after being covered with blankets and other herbs, were subjected to a sweating and starving pro- cess for .several days and nights while the elders of the band danced around the pit singing the songs for the occasion. The ordeal ended with a procession, or a race, to a prominent cliff, where each girl inscribed symbolic painted designs upon the rock. The boys' initiation ceremony was a preliminary to admission to a privileged secret society, the officers of which con- stituted the priesthood. A principal feature was the drinking of a decoction of the root of the poisonous toloache, or jimson-weed (datura meleloides), to pro- duce unconsciousness, in which the initiate was sup- posed to have communication with his future protect- ing spirit. Rigid food taboos were prescribed for a long period, and a common ordeal test was the lower- ing of the naked initiate into a pit of vicious sting- ing ants. A symbolic "sand painting", with figures in vari-coloured sand, was a part of the ritual.

The corpse was burned upon a funeral pile immedi- ately after death, together with the personal property, by a man specially appointed to that duty, the bones being afterwards gathereil up and buried or otherwise preserved. Once a year a great tribal mourning cere- mony was held, to which the people of all the neigh- bouring ravclicria.s were invited. On this occasion large quantit ies of property were burned as sacrifice to the spirits of the dead, or given away to the visitors, an effigy of the deceased was burned upon the pyre, and the perfonnanc<\ which lasted through several days and nights, concluded with a weird night dance around the blazing pile, during which an eagle or other great bird, p.assed from one to another of the circling dance priests, was slowly pressed to death in their arms, while in songs they implored its sjiirit to carry their messages to their friends in the other world, ■rhe souls of prie-sts and chiefs were supposed to ascend