Response to comments on ucla report on Kumeyaay affiliation April 26, 2002


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Response to comments on UCLA report on Kumeyaay affiliation

April 26, 2002
Diana Wilson

UCLA NAGPRA coordinator

Thanks to Bob, Kent and Richard for their remarks on the UCLA report on Kumeyaay affiliation, they were truly helpful. The existing UCLA report focuses primarily on archaeological evidence and the question of abandonment of coastal sites in San Diego County. In considering the linguistic and oral traditional evidence in greater depth, and in regarding the San Diego coast in the broader linguistic and cultural context of all the Yuman-speaking groups, I have been able to be more explicit about the evidence for the original report’s conclusion: the continuity of a Kumeyaay shard group identity with the remains in question, based on in situ development through time of a proto-Yuman and Yuman people in southern California between the Pacific Coast to the Colorado River.
[“Yuman” has been used in the anthropological literature to refer to the Quechan Tribe, a time period, and a group of cultural traits (alternately known as “Patayan” and “Hakataya”), and to a language family in the Hokan stock. I use "Yuman" to refer to the all the groups of speakers of the Yuman languages and to the language family.]
Our task is to determine if there is a preponderance of evidence for a “shared group identity” between the Kumeyaay and the remains that they have claimed. The Kumeyaay oral tradition maybe the most important evidence we have because it speaks directly to the question of shared group identity.

As a cultural anthropologist, it is increasingly clear to me there is continuity of shared group identity between the Kumeyaay and those people who lived during the Archaic period in San Diego county. For others, such continuity may not be clear; scholars working in different fields have very different definitions and assumptions about "shared group identity", and they have different methods for working with the data. Linguists certainly paint the picture of Kumeyaay prehistory with a much broader brush than that used by archaeologists.

Nevertheless, in deciding for or against cultural affiliation, we are all working from the same evidence. While I was preparing this response, it was evident to me that until we agree what constitutes evidence of a “shared group identity”, “continuity”, and “discontinuity”, we will go on giving different interpretations to the same sets of data ad infinitum. In my opinion, shared group identity must take into consideration both an etic, or outside perspectives, and an emic, or groups members’ perspectives, in weighing the lines of evidence as a whole.
The UCLA report accepts the Kumeyaay oral tradition, both past and present, as valid evidence and attempts to reconcile Kumeyaay expert testimony with other lines of evidence. I am satisfied that the present response, together with the original report, is at least an outline of various scholarly “consensus realities” for San Diego County and for other Yuman groups, through time. But the conclusions of this report do not represent any single scholarly consensus reality, and thus may not be acceptable to scholars in archaeology, biology, linguistics, and anthropology, or even the Kumeyaay themselves. In a more positive light, this report could be regarded as a step toward a synthesis of Kumeyaay tribal knowledge with an objective overview of the region. In the first report, I did not present a full synthesis of Tribal knowledge and scholarly knowledge. However, I was encouraged by the comments of Kent Richard and Bob to attempt to do so, despite the considerable problems of interpretation that are involved. With the inclusion of contemporary Kumeyaay peoples’ interpretation of their oral tradition as documented in the last century, the UCLA report does contribute to an understanding of the Kumeyaay past as known to them and as known by scholars.

The gap in the archaeological record: In addressing Richard and Kent’s comments that only “a handful [of San Diego sites] fit into the time period between the Archaic and the Patayan or proto -Yuman cultures”, I am assuming that the time period to which they refer is between 4000 and 1500 years before present. An unpublished article by Byrd and Reddy (cited in the UCLA report), details substantial new data from coastal sites for the Late Holocene, 3500 years before present to historic contact. Based on dozens of new radiocarbon dates, they conclude:

Well-dated major Late Holocene residential sites (shell middens) occur along San Diego Bay, Mission Bay Los Penasquitos Lagoon, Sorrento Valley, Agua Hedionda Lagoon, Buena Vista Lagoon, and from Las Flores Creek to San Mateo Creek on Camp Pendleton. Moreover, many of these sites represent the probable location of coastal villages noted by Portola in 1769 (Carrico 1998). Given the richness of associated cultural remains and the considerable time depth of occupation documented at many of these sites, they probably represented relatively stable sedentary coastal settlements…. [V]ery little independent paleoecological evidence was available to reconstruct the history of local lagoons, and initial reconstructions were based on the Batiquitos Lagoon archaeological sequence and then extrapolated to the rest of the region [Batiquitos Lagoon silted in and was apparently nearly abandoned between 3500 and 1500 years before present] … The population decline reconstruction was an empirical argument based on available radiocarbon dates from coastal sites. This was perfectly reasonable at the time (Byrd and Reddy n.d.: 25).
[We would be happy to forward this article to anyone on the UCOP Committee.]

The problem in San Diego County archaeology is not a gap in the record; there is plenty of evidence for continuity of occupation across the Archaic and into the Late Period. These are the critical questions: Are the people of the La Jolla cultural tradition related to the people of an earlier western desert cultural tradition and to an inland Archaic tradition (Pauma). Are the people of the La Jolla tradition related to the people of the later Diegueno cultural tradition, and if so, how? In terms of finely detailed archaeological analysis, these questions are not answered; the questions themselves are still being refined (Mc Donald and Eighmey 1998).

Yuman Migrations: Like Bob, Richard and Kent, I also find the Kumeyaay ethnographic and oral traditions - their origin narratives, song cycles and ground paintings - to be among the strongest lines of evidence. But before turning to oral traditions, I would like to discuss Bob’s comment that linguistic evidence “strongly suggests a Kumeyaay movement from a point of origin along the lower Colorado River westward to the California coast in times too recent to account for the remains from SDi-525 (7,500 - 5,500 BP) and SDi-603 (7340-3950 B.P.).” I disagree; the consensus among linguists is that proto-Yuman speakers have been in place since before 1000 B.C., and very probably, for at least eight thousand years before present (Foster 1996:86-87). This in situ hypothesis is most explanatory of the Yuman linguistic evidence, and explanatory of other lines of evidence as well.
There is no doubt that the Yuman language groups absorbed the influences, and apparently the DNA, of people participating in the Hohokam cultural tradition (300 B.C. to 1400 A.D.). Rodgers (1945) suggests that Colorado River “Yuman” people originally came from the Pacific Coast, and over time absorbed the influences of the Southwest cultural area, most specifically, those of the Hohokam, and then passed those influences back to the Pacific Coast at around 1400 A.D., after the final desiccation of Lake Cahuilla. Rodgers hypothesized that at 1400 A.D. major populations shifts of Yuman people to the east of the Colorado River and south into Baja California took place, as well as migrations to the San Diego Coast.

Certainly the filling and draining of Lake Cahuilla must have effected the flow of cultural influence and people over the last 1300 years. Lake Cahuilla filled the Imperial Valley between 900 A.D. and 1400 A.D.. While Lake Cahuilla was filled, people would have been drawn to its shores, but direct contact between River and Coast would have been much more difficult. When the Lake drained, coastal/river contact would have resumed. The draining of Lake Cahuilla could account for the apparently sudden appearance of new cultural traits around 1400 A.D., and to some extent, for greater numbers of people in San Diego County at that time, but other factors undoubtedly played a role as well (McDonald and Eighmey 1998: III-1).

Wallace (1955:226) suggested that a 1400 A.D. onset is not enough time to allow for the cultural developments of the Diegueno tradition. McDonald and Eighmey put Rodgers’s ideas into contemporary context:
Ceramic vessel forms and treatments were diagnostic features of all three [of Rodgers'] time periods, but the major difference between the cultural periods as Rodgers (1945) defined them was the increase and spread of Yuman cultural traits and/or actual populations from a homeland in the Colorado River Valley. Unfortunately, Rodgers' (1945) chronological overview is vague and contradictory, lacking in any substantial presentation of his survey data or much of the complementary data used to estimate the dates given for the three periods. In addition, this chronology was developed primarily for the Colorado River Valley sub-area, not the other sub-areas which Rodgers (1945:180) recognized as being archaeologically and ecologically diversified. In spite of these shortcomings, his chronology has been taken all too often as the gospel concerning the prehistory of the Kumeyaay region (McDonald and Eighmey: 1998:III 9-10).

The question of how southwestern traits such as cremation and ceramics came into San Diego County, and when, is one of the most complex questions in San Diego archaeology, and none of the archaeologists I spoke with said that they could say for certain if these changes occurred through acculturation of existing groups by Colorado River or Baja California Tribes, or by the migration of new people into the area. One of two ceramic traditions appears to have begun in San Diego County as early as 600 A.D.. Griset (1996:184-285) postulates that ceramics came not only from the Colorado River area but also from Baja Californian between 600 and 900 A.D.. New dates for ceramics suggest that the technology spread across the desert to the coast very rapidly (McDonald and Eighmey 1998: III 40-41). Also, the ceramic traditions appear in a sophisticated form from the beginning, without incipient forms (Griset 1996:271).

The earliest date suggested for the beginning of cremation is 2500 B.P. (Moriarty 1966), based on the Spendrift site located in the city of La Jolla showing an unbroken sequence of occupation from the later Archaic through the Late Period (1966:23). This is approximately the same time that cremation appears in the Southwest cultural traditions. The timing of the spread of cultural influences to the Pacific Coast suggests close contact between the coastal region and the river at an early date:
From the evidence it appears that around 3,000 B. P., elements of the westernmost Yuman were beginning to merge with the coastal La Jolla. The mixing of the two cultures brought about changes distinguishable in the artifact assemblage, and possibly resulted in a modification of burial practices. Whether this was a peaceful merging or the more dynamic Yuman people came as invaders and assimilated the La Jolla survivors is not known. The archaeological evidence tends to suggest a peaceful merging over a fairly long period (Ibid.:24).
There is some evidence of migrations within Yuman groups. The Quechan have an oral tradition of their migration from the north in what is now Mojave territory, near Wikami Mountain, north of what is now Needles, California (Bee 1983: 86). When this may have occurred in not known.
DuBois gives us the migration story related to her by a Mesa Grande Elder named Quilpsh, or Raphael Charles:

All the tribes of Indians came from that place [Wik-a-mee]. They had only one language then…..After the Indians were made, Tu-chai-pa and Yo-ko-mat-is scattered them from the place where they were at first. All these Indians, the Dieguenos, came from the east….the different families came at different times to San Diego, Captain Grande, etc, and some stopped at all the different places along the way…..(DuBois 1907:129-130).

Another consultant from Mesa Grande told DuBois that some of the Indians
went first to Elsinor where the Indians helped to make the lake that is there. Temecula is also mentioned as one of the stopping places where they first settled. Afterward they went through San Diego to Mesa Grande and the various places where they are now to be found (Ibid.:130).
This suggests a migration from what is now the Mojave Tribal area, through Banning Pass, by way of present-day Luiseno territory. If this oral tradition is correct, we do not know when the migration took place. Despite the fact that DuBois assumes that the Luisenos were indigenous to the area of Lake Elsinore and Temecula when the Kumeyaay bands passed through (Ibid.: 130), the linguistic (Hinton 1991), and oral traditional evidence suggest that Kumeyaay may have been in the Temecula area before the Luisenos. According to both Kumeyaay and Luiseno oral traditions, the Kumeyaay ceded their territory to the Luisenos. According to the archaeological record, the Temecula/Lake Elsinor area has been occupied continuously for the last 4500 years, and sites in San Diego County foothills, mountains, and deserts for even longer.
Together with new technology and cultural practices, new people almost certainly came to the San Diego coast from east and/or south, but we don’t know when.
There is also evidence for a Yuman population migration from west to east. The Cocopa are apparently a western Yuman group which moved to the Colorado delta region (Eggan 1983: 737) at an unknown time, and then down river:

During a pluvial period around A.D. 900 a large lake formed in the Imperial-Mexcialli Valley, a lake referred to in the twentieth century as Blake Sea or Lake Cahuilla. Many Yuman speakers were attracted to settle on its shores; however, the Cocopa remained on the river. The desiccation of that lake between A.D. 1400 and 1500 nevertheless affected the Cocopa drastically when the Quechan and the Mojave returned to the river, displacing the Cocopa and forcing them down river to the southern delta into an area that had been submerged during the earlier pluvial period (Anita Alvarez de Williams 1983:100).

Eggan also suggested that “the Kamia and the Cocopa appear to have moved from [extreme southern California and Baja California] to the Imperial Valley and the Colorado River Delta region, respectively (Eggan 1983: 742). When those migrations may have occurred is not clear, and this suggestion is contradictory to that of Alvarez De Williams:
Archaeological studies indicate that ancestors of the Cocopa and other Yuman speakers migrated from the north, perhaps the Great Basin, to the lower valleys of the Gila and the Colorado rivers sometime between 1000 B,.C,. and the time of Christ (Alvarez de Williams 1983:100).
Ten of fifty Cocopa clans and their totems are derived from Paipai, Tipai, and Kamia (Ibid.:109-110). Perhaps the Cocopa are an amalgamation of clans from north, west and south.
We know that Cocopa is the closest Yuman language to Digueno (Kendall 1979:10). Those Cocopa who migrated from the west may have done so before 900 AD, when the Lake Cahuilla filled. If so, they were in the western region before 900 A. D. This strongly suggests that the Diegueno speakers were also in San Diego County before 900 A.D.. This suggestion is supported by the oral tradition of one Kumeyaay Elder that the Kumeyaay used to all speak the same language, but when the Lake went down they couldn't understand one another any more (Florence Shipek, personal communication). Also, there are no known oral traditions of migrations among the Kumeyaay as there are among the Quechan. The apparently accuracy of a collective memory of language similarities and differences suggests that a collective memory of momentous events like migrations probably would have persisted.

Some linguists have proposed that the close relationship between Paipai in the Baja California and the upland Arizona Yuman languages (Walapai, Havasupai, Yavapai) is a result of a very recent migration of Paipai from Arizona, based on a Paipai legend. Alternatively, “Kroeber and Joel have suggested that the affinity between these distant languages reflect the continuation of a generalized ancestral Yuman tradition, the River and Delta departure from this heritage being a result of accelerated changes brought about by cultural specialization” (Hale and Harris 1979:172).

Rodgers (1945:190) suggested the that Yavasupai may have moved into their territory in Arizona as recently as 1100, but Schroeder sees them developing in situ at least since the time of the Hakataya tradition (Khera and Mariella 1969:39).
Finally, Luomala makes a reference to a possible in-migration from the Colorado River to the Pacific Coast:
By A.D. 1000, these lower Colorado River tribes were, possibly, Yuman speakers, who, wandering east from the southern Californian coast into the Mojave region, has spread south along the River. A few, dislocated perhaps by Lake Cahuilla’s evaporating, turned west over the mountains either to rejoin remaining bands or to form the nucleus of later Tipai-Ipai groups. Evidence depends on scanty archaeological data and comparison of languages, mythology, and legends recorded only after 1540 when Spaniards arrived and the historic periods began; nonetheless, basic cultural patterns of historic Tipai and Ipai were deeply rooted in those of their predecessors in this area, whoever they were (Luomala 1978:594).

The question of the origin of a proto-Yuman group, and biological evidence:
The populations and cultural traits associated with a proto-Yuman cultural area are believed to have originated at the Pacific Coast. Irwin Williams (1979) finds that the Western archaic elements of the southwestern region, distinct from those of Paleo-Plains Indians and Great Basin Archaic Uto-Aztecan speakers, begin on the San Diego coast at about 11,500 years ago and move westward and northward (Figure 1).

Figure 1 (Irwin Williams 1979)

Archaeologists agree that the earliest inhabitants of the San Diego coast practiced a cultural tradition related to the Western Pluvial Lake tradition. According to Irwin Williams, the Western tradition is related to the Pinto and Amargosa traditions of the later archaic in the Mojave desert and east into Arizona (Irwin Williams 1979:38-39). The argument for a proto-Yuman geographical area depends on whether or not the people of the La Jollan tradition were related to both their predecessors and their archaic contemporaries associated with inland mountain and desert areas.

The localized version of the Western Pluvial Lake traditions, the San Dieguito cultural tradition, existed on the San Diego coast before 8500 B.P., and its participants may or may not be related biologically with the people of the La Jolla cultural tradition or the inland archaic (Pauma). Warren, Siegler and Dittmer believe that the San Dieguito cultural tradition did not persist much beyond 8500 years ago. Gallegos assumes that all three traditions were related (1987:30), but his argument has been criticized by those who point out that only biological data can support the hypothesis that the San Dieguito and La Jolla populations were related (Warren, Siegler, and Dittmer 1998: II-68-69).
Upon coming to the San Diego County coast, the San Dieguito people may have adapted their material culture to the coastal environment. However, according to Warren, Siegler and Dittmer, “The early La Jollan cultural pattern was already present before the transitional period and La Jolla people appear to have been already adapted to the coastal resources [upon their arrival in San Diego] and perhaps in contact with a San Dieguito population” (Ibid.:II-65).

There is some biological evidence that the archaic people of the coastal La Jolla tradition were related to those occupying the inland desert at a very early age. Spencer Rodgers (1977) reports an early skeleton found in the Yuhu Desert, just about the Mexican border, approximately half way between San Diego and the Colorado River, “ in a region where very primitive lithic artifacts give indication of an early population of simple culture over a considerable time of occupancy” (Ibid.:2). The tentative date for the skeleton is ancient: caliche on the skeleton was dated by radiocarbon at 21,000 years ago, and a thorium date indicated a comparable age (Ibid.:2) [This date is probably not widely accepted.] Rodgers’s comparative metrical analysis finds that:

it would appear that the Yuhu population, as represented by this single specimen, was probably not greatly different in physical structure from the La Jollan people, but did digress in various ways from the early physical stocks in California to the north and to a greater degree from the earliest Arizona population to the east (Ibid.:6).
The relationship of this skeleton to those found in the Sacramento area seems to corroborate the linguistic data. Linguists and archaeologists have speculated that that the Hokan languages of northern California derive from proto-Hokan groups in central California present at a very early date (Foster 1996:86). The relationships between the early Yuhu desert skeletons and early skeletons from the Sacramento area suggest that the physical type associated with the La Jolla tradition may tentatively be associated with speakers of a proto Hokan languages.

If Richard Jantz’s suggestion, based on mtDNA analysis, that the archaic people of the San Diego coast came by the ocean to North America (Jantz, 2000.) is correct, and if Hokan language is assumed to have developed into proto-Yuman in situ on the southern California (Foster 1996: 86), then it is reasonable to infer that a Hokan language was spoken by the earliest people of the La Jollan cultural tradition on the San Diego coast and in northern Baja California. Archaeologists have correlated the Western Pluvial Lake traditions with a proto Hokan language (Moratto 1984:90-103). Linguists also assume that the people associated with the Pinto-Amargosa cultural traditions spoke a proto-Yuman languages (Hale and Harris); we can infer that proto-Yuman would have developed from an older Hokan language in situ over a long period of time, perhaps over the entire desert archaic period, during which time Hokan/proto-Yuman speakers were occupying the inland Mojave desert area and eastern Arizona area associated with the Pinto-Amargosa traditions.

Rogers (1945) concludes the this early population is quite different physically from those of historic Tribes in the area. However, like Moriarty, he sees evidence for a slow cultural transition through the final archaic period (1945:172), and he notes the biological heterogeneity present at an early date:
The La Jollan people were a mixed physical group from the first. Their burials provide both dolichocephalic and mesocephalic types. However, the ratio changes during the second phase (final archaic] in that the long-headed type becomes more rare. The early type (pseudo-Austroaloid) can still be found among the historic Dieguenos of this area, but has little diagnostic value because the latter in post-Spanish times became hybridized through the Spanish bringing in foreign Indians from Lower California and other part of Mexico. On the other hand, the condition could have arisen through miscegenation during prehistoric time (Ibid.:178).

If we had access to the data at the Smithsonian Institution, described to me by Dave Hunt, we might see more gradual changes in the biological record over time, rather than the stark contrast we have now of archaic skeletons compared with those of several hundred years ago. There is no doubt that great physical changes have taken place in the indigenous people of San Diego County, and the evidence presented by Bob suggests one way how and why. As we said in the existing UCLA report, we do not consider that changes necessarily imply discontinuity; changes can also take place within a continuum of shared identity. Dave Hunt told me that there probably is some biological relationship between the Archaic and the Late periods, but that such a relationship would not be "meaningful". However, it is meaningful to the Kumeyaay. Which of these understandings of biological relationship will we consider "current"? Can we define a “meaningful” biological relationship?

Linguistic and archaeological evidence: Linguists believe that the many, widespread Yuman languages spoken at contact (Figure 3), developed in the relatively short time of 2000 years. During this 2000 years, specialization, both cultural and linguistic, was apparently most intense among Yuman speaking groups in closest proximity to the Colorado River and to the Southwestern cultural areas (Foster 1996:86).
We do not know far back in time proto-Yuman was spoken, but the time needed for Yuman to separate, at the level of language families, from other Hokan languages such as Salinan, Seri, and Pomoan, is considerable (Chumash is now only tentatively grouped with the Hokan language stock [Goddard 1996:6-7]). The wide separation of the Yuman language family from other Hokan language families, together with the relatively shallow separation within the Yuman family languages, suggests a long period of linguistic interaction among proto-Yuman speakers relatively isolated from outside influences. The shallowness of Yuman linguistic separation does not necessarily mean that the Yumans have been in a location for a shorter amount of time than the Uto-Aztecans, rather it suggests that the need for linguistic specialization may have been less. Languages change at vastly different rates, depending on specific social and cultural circumstances.

Figure 2 (Kendall 1979)
Hale and Harris suggest that 5000 years ago a single proto-Yuman language was spoken over the archaic desert culture area:

The evidence provided by the recorded languages indicated that the center of dispersal of Yuman languages is somewhere in the south of the area over which they are now distributed, since that is the area of greatest diversity in Yuman. It should perhaps be pointed out that under hunting and gathering conditions, it is possible for a single language to be spoken over a vast region. Consequently, the ancestor of the modern Yuman languages may have been spoken over an extensive circum-delta area including northern Baja California, southern California, southwestern Arizona, and northwestern Sonora. In any event, it is reasonable to assume, with Irwin –Williams, that the ancestors of the Yumans were responsible for certain examples of southern Californian Desert culture, such as that of Pinto Basin (Campbell and Campbell 1935). They may also have been responsible for some materials identified with the Amargosa variety at Ventana Cave father to the east (Hale and Harris 1979:174).

Foster reaches a similar conclusion:
A case can be made for long in situ development of Hokan peoples in the southern coastal region of California, a sequence uninterrupted unit the arrival around 1000 B.C of Takic branch of Uto-Aztecan in the Los Angeles Basin……The effects of the Takic incursion can be detected in the influence that Yuman languages exerted on the phonological systems of the Cupan languages [Luiseno and Cahuilla-Cupeno]) of the Takic branch that border Yuman just to the north. It is hypothesized that the territory once occupied by the Cupan languages was once Yuman, and that intertribal marriage and periods of conquest led to a situation of bilingualism, with Yuman populations in the border area eventually switching to Luiseno and Cahuilla/Cupeno, which were much affected phonologically in the process (Hinton 1991). …A study of reconstructed Yuman vocabulary concludes that the Yuman segment of the family at least has occupied either its present area, or one with a similar environment, from proto-Yuman times on, and that the proto-Yuman practiced shamanism and depended on both agriculture and hunting and gathering for subsistence (Foster 1996:86-87).
Apparently developing out of the proto-Yuman (Pinto-Amargosa) desert tradition, (Schroeder 1979:102), the Hakataya culture tradition covered the roughly the same geographical area (Figure 2), and existed from about 600 A.D. to 1400 A.D. .

Figure 3 (Schroeder 1979)

According to Hale and Harris:

There is no difficulty associating the most recent phases of Hakataya with speakers of Yuman languages, and Schroeder has been able to suggest specific assignments of Hakataya branches to extant Yuman communities. However, it does not necessarily follow that all Hakataya manifestations are due to the same linguistic groups, a consideration that led to the replacement of Rogers (1945) designation “Yuman” by more noncommittal terms: Patayan (Colton 1945) and then Schroeder's term Hakataya. It is conceivable, even quite likely, that Uto-Aztecans were also responsible for some sites and materials identified as Hakatayan (Hale and Harris 1979:175).

Comparing Figures 2 and 3, and assuming that at least some people of the Pinto-Amargosa tradition spoke a proto-Yuman language, we can infer that Uto-Aztecan speakers apparently occupied the Mojave Desert and the present day Cahuilla and Serrano territories sometime before or during the Hakataya period.
Anthropological evidence: A distinctive Yuman kinship and social organization (Eggan 1983:737) also supports the idea of a proto-Yuman group covering a wide geographical area. Furthermore, Eggan observes that the social organization of the northernmost California Yuman speaking groups have been influenced by the patrlineality of the Uto-Aztecans but that the most southernmost groups may represent the earliest form of social structure in an “old Yuman homeland”.
It is probable that the Takic or southern California Uto-Aztecan expansion took place in the first millennium B.C. The proposed Hokan affiliations for the Yuman suggest that the groups in extreme southern California and extending well into Baja California may be located in part of the old Yuman homeland, since they have apparently move divergent languages and a simple social system. Cochimi is apparently extinct, but Kiliwa may be the most aberrant language, and Kiliwa and Ipai with remnant of patrilocal bands, may represent an earlier form of social structure. The Tipai-Ipai have both band groups and patrilineal named clans that were localized and that may well be related to contact with the Takic speaking Uto-Aztecan to the north. Both the Kamia and the Cocopa appear to have moved from this region to the Imperial Valley and the Colorado delta regions, respectively (Eggan 1983:742).

Summary of evidence for the in situ development of present-day Yuman groups: A very early archaic group originating on the San Diego or Baja California coast probably moved inland, east and north, developing into an archaic desert tradition referred to as Pinto-Amargosa, extending across California, into western Arizona and north into the Mojave desert by 2000 B.C. (Irwin-Williams 1979, Schroeder 1979). Linguists assume that most early and late archaic desert groups spoke a proto-Yuman language (Harris and Hale 1979, Foster 1983). We assume that the archaic period La Jolla tradition on the San Diego coast is related to archaic proto-Yuman groups by shared language and perhaps by shared cultural practices and knowledge. Linguists believe that proto-Yuman speakers and Uto-Aztecan, Takic/Cupan speakers came into contact with one another when the latter came into the Los Angeles Basin area from the Mojave Desert area, around 1000 B.C. (Hinton 1991, Moratto 1984:560). Beginning at about 600 AD, the Hakataya cultural tradition developed, influenced by the Hohokam agricultural and ceramic tradition in Arizona. The Hakatya tradition extended across roughly the same geographical area as the Pinto-Amargosa desert culture (Schroeder 1979). By the beginning of the Hakataya cultural tradition, Uto Aztecan Takic/Cupan speakers, the Serrano and Cahuilla, may have already inhabited the entire northwestern part of the Hakataya area, which was their territory at contact. By the end of the Hakataya period, 1400 A.D., the Yuman language branches known at contact had developed. The proto-Yuman and Yuman cultural traditions received influences from both the east (southwestern cultural area) and the north (Uto-Aztecan speakers); the San Diego coast and Baja California Yuman language areas, most remote from the sources of change, seem to have been the least affected by changes (Eggan 1983).

The question of a shared group identity for proto-Yumans, and oral traditions. From an outside, objective perspective, we have inferred the existence of a proto-Yuman group spanning the Archaic period, occupying a Yuman homeland between the Pacific Ocean and Colorado River, and developing in situ as a whole into the Yuman groups of the Late Period. But if there was such a proto-Yuman group, what was their own understanding of “shared group identity”? And can we regard that identity to be shared by the present day Kumeyaay? As Bob, Richard, and Kent suggest, oral tradition is a strong line of evidence for ascertaining the origin of the Kumeyaay people and their shared group identity through time. The existing UCLA report briefly describes three different oral traditions: ground painting, an origin narrative, and a ball lightning song cycle. These traditions, and their interrelations, are described here in greater detail. These three traditions each present a different set of interpretive problems, and they each contribute to our understanding of Kumeyaay shared group identity through time.
1) Origin narrative: As Kent and Richard point out, some early accounts of Diegueno /Kumeyaay origin narratives incorporate a mountain of creation named Wikami. Bob and Richard seem to imply that this mountain of creation, located in the Mojave Desert, may contradict or supercede the oceanic origin narrative given by Kroeber and quoted in the UCLA report. However, the ocean monster and the Wikami mountain of creation are two elements of the same Yuman Creation narrative:

One other episode the Yuma and Mojave share with the Diegueno. Sky Rattlesnake – Kammayaveta, Maihaiowit, Maiaveta, or Umasereha, is sent from his ocean abode to Avikwame [Wikami], where, on entering the house, his head is chopped off or is burned. The motive is punishment of the doctor of evil design, or the desire to acquire his ritualistic knowledge. This is an incident not recorded among any Shoshonean tribe; but the monster recurs in the Zuni Kolowisi and is an ancient southwestern concept with water associations (Kroeber 1935:791).

Many of these elements are contained in the narrative as told to me in English last April by Steve Banegas:
[Recounting the origin narratives as told to me in this way is analogous to outlining the main events of the Canterbury Tales to a Chinese speaker in Chinese– most of the specific cultural and historical meanings are lost.]
Steve Banegas’s telling, as written in my field notes: The actual creation took place by a sea monster rattlesnake, who, after emerging from the ocean, traveled inland where creation took place, in the vicinity of Needles. The people then traveled southwest, and were finally placed in Kumeyaay territory where, from the death of the ocean snakes, they established knowledge of the death ceremony, the passing over ceremony, and the contact with the other world.
Also in Mr. Banegas’s telling, the monster's head was chopped off at the Big House, in PineValley, in the mountains of Kumeyaay territory. He said that the blood of the brother who died [implying the existence of two brothers] was gold, and they [the Kumeyaay] knew this gold was very valuable, but they themselves resisted it for it was dealt with only at the price of greed.
Mr. Banegas did not name Wikami Mountain, but the sea monster/rattlesnakes were explicitly mentioned; Wikami may have been implied by the description of the “place of creation” near Needles.
Like Kroeber, Waterman also finds the oceanic strata of the Yuman origin narrative to be primary:
We have two independent ideas, then among the Digueno, with reference to this general topic of origins. These are embodied in two types of myth. One type, the “Chaup” story, tells among other things of the modifications of an already existing world, by “Chaup”. The other type tells of the origin of the mundus itself, and is a real Creation story (Waterman 1929:337).

Chaup, or “ball lightning” is the subject/agent of the lightning songs as described below. According to Waterman, Chaup was not the original creator of the world but the maker of many plants and animals. “He is the “origin of the most striking features of animate nature and the useages obtaining among human being” (Ibid.: 337).

Waterman gives the entire original creation story, which concerns the water snakes monster, twin brothers, and the inland destruction of the snake, resulting in the distribution of ritual knowledge among the various people, who were then scattered about to their territories. Finally, he concludes:
It is of course impossible to determine at this time, either from the myth just quoted or from other versions, just what elements enter properly into the Diegueno myth. All the evidence extant, however, point quite unmistakably to the conclusion that as far as the mythology of Creation is concerned, the Dieguenos are thoroughly independent of the Shoshonean people north of them (Ibid.: 341).
This independent cosmogony supports the idea that a discrete proto-Yuman group once shared, and continues to share, an origin myth involving a oceanic monster Sky Rattlesnake. This is suggestive, but with due respect to the Kumeyaay persons who take these origin narrations literally, as non-Kumeyaays, we can not simply conclude that these narratives are evidence of the Yuman groups’ oceanic origin. In order to interpret the origin narratives with the care they deserve, we would need fluency in the Kumeyaay language and an understanding of traditional uses of allegory and metaphor. The Kumeyaay themselves could perhaps best accomplish this kind of translation/interpretation if they found that to be appropriate. The evidence we can take from these origin narratives is that the fact that the oldest strata in the creation narrative is associated only with the Yuman speaking groups may suggest a considerable time depth for proto Yuman speakers and their cultural traditions in southern California.
Kroeber discerns a second strata in the narratives as well, in which:

the world begins with two quarreling brothers, of whom one causes and the other opposes of the pair manufactures mankind. This is also in general the Yuman idea, however, these people add the fact that the two brothers, the creator and his death-instituting opponent, are born at the bottom of the sea, and that the younger brother emerges blinded by the salt water. This underlying [strata] is represented by the Serrano, Cahuilla, Diegueno, and in the main by the [Quechan] and the Maricopa (1933:788-789).

The apparent early exchange of influence among the Serrano, Cahuilla, and Diegueno can be explained by their coming into contact when Takic/Cupan speakers came into the Los Angeles Basin in 1000 B.C.. Contact could have occurred earlier, in the Mojave Desert, if the Mojave was occupied by proto-Yuman speakers during the Archaic Period., or it could have occurred later as well.
Finally, Kroeber associates the philosophy of the Gabrielino and Luiseno with the Puebloan conception of cosmogony in which human kind are born with the gods, not made by them:
The upper [in which mankind and all things in the world are born from mother Earth, with Sky or Night as father] crops out among the Gabrielino, Luiseno, and some distance away, among the Mojave, with some indications among the [Quechan ] (1933:788-789).
Of three strata in the origin narratives in Southern California, the second oldest is shared by all Yuman groups as well as the Serrano and Cahuilla, and the primary strata is exclusively Yuman. Consistent with the archaeological evidence, this suggests a long, in-situ development of proto-Yuman traditions in the territory of present day Yuman speakers, and early contact between proto-Yuman and Takic/Cupan language groups.
The narratives account for the beginning of cremation practices, which we saw above may have begun as early as 2500 years ago. Cremation did not replace inhumation everywhere at once, and archaeologists are reluctant to place a date on its inception.

Summary: The origin narratives are evidence for a shared group identity based on a common tradition of oceanic origins particular to Yuman groups. A second origin trait of twin brother creators is common to all Yuman groups and is shared with the Serrano and Cahuilla, both Uto-Aztecan speakers. This may indicate the influence of Yuman groups on the latter as they moved into Yuman territory, or the assimilation of Shoshonean ideas by Yuman speakers. Linguistic exchange between Yuman groups with the Serrano and Cahuilla in the Los Angeles Basin probably dates to 1000 B.C.. Cultural exchange may have occurred in the Mojave Desert area even earlier.

2) Ground painting. The ground painting, as the uses of origin narratives, seem to vary. However, ground paintings, like the song cycles, may encode collective memory in tradition.
The ground painting described in the UCLA report is not directly related to an origin narrative, it is part of a initiation ritual for boys. It is also a map of Kumeyaay territory as viewed by a specific group. There are apparently many variations of “corner” mountains represented in the ground paintings among the various reservations (Waterman:1929). A second ground painting illustrated in Waterman simply has four unnamed mountains outside the boundary, or visible horizon.
The initiation ground painting described by Spier (Figure 4), represents constellations, mountains and springs. The mountains are: (b) Wi’toloi, Viejas mountain near Descanso; (c) Xiwi’ a rock in the ocean near San Diego; (d) Wikaiyai, San Jacinto Mountain, (g) Wikemun, or Picacho Peak in Mexico, near Yuma, Arizona; (h) a mountain northeast of Picacho Peak, and finally in the upper right corner (k) Xakwinnyimcop “white water” far east of the Picacho (1923:319-320). No circle was drawn around this figure. The letters “l”, “m”, ‘”n”, “o”, and “p”: are constellations.
The four landmarks outside the boundary of the ground painting given in Waterman (Figure 5), (1925:350) are, clockwise from upper right: Wikaiyai, San Bernardino Mountain; Nyapukxaua, mountain where people were created; Atoloi, witch mountain on an island, identified by the informant with Coronado Island; Axatu, Santa Catalina Island.

The mountain described as “where people were created” in Waterman's sand painting could also be Picacho Peak near Yuma, which Kroeber reports serves as Wikami for some Dieguenos.(1935:788). Also, the Kumeyaay name for San Jacinto Mountain, Wikaiyai, given in Spier (1923:319), is the same as given by Waterman (1929: 350), for San Bernardino mountain.

Figure 4 (Spier 1929) Figure 5 (Waterman 1929)

This mountains of the ground painting “map” recorded by Spier also encompass a large geographical area extending from (k) “white water” far [north] east of Yuma, to (g) Yuma, to (b) south of San Diego, to (d) San Jacinto Mountain in present-day Cahuilla territory. The center of the territory mapped by this ground painting, which was drawn at Campo near the Mexican border, would be significantly to the east of that of the ground painting given in Waterman, which was drawn at Santa Ysabel, in the northern part of Kumeyaay territory (see Figure 6 at end of document for the location of Kumeyaay reservations).

The Kumeyaay representatives told me that the ground painting in Waterman was used in a puberty rite to represent all that for which the young men would be held responsible as adults. Presumably both of these ground paintings represents a geographical area with which both the initiates and initiators identify. This geographical area defines the geographical boundaries of the initiates responsibilities; the mountains define the specific group territory associated with an adult member’s role.

Both ground paintings encompass San Jacinto Mountain which is located in an area that would later be occupied by the Cahuilla and Luiseno tribes. If the Cahuilla entered into the Los Angeles Basin area as early as 1000 B.C., both ground paintings suggest a Yuman world, or homeland, dating to a time well before the beginning of the Late Period. The Kumeyaay representatives I spoke with said that Kumeyaay groups had ceded territory to the Luiseno at sometime in the past, and Luiseno people with whom I have spoken agree.

3) “Ball Lightning” song cycle.
The ground painting reproduced in Waterman reminded the Kumeyaay representatives of the Lightning song cycle; according to Paul Cuero, Jr., the boundaries of the ground painting coincide with the area described in those songs. According to Paul Cuero, Jr., the song’s narration of a ball lightning being’s point of view and/or exploits begins in the desert in the northeast (possibly reflecting the location of the Wikami mountain of creation) and moves clockwise, describing geological features and also the placement of the Mojave, Quechan and Kumeyaay groups in their territories. [There was an alignment of the Mojave and Quechan against the Maricopa, Cocopa and other Yuman groups (Kroeber 1935, and Alvarez De Williams 1983).] The first songs are sung in Quechan, the next in Mojave, and the others in Diegueno, according to the areas they are describing. The songs mention the well-known tidal plume at Ensenada, Mexico, Catalina Island, and describe the Cahuilla (but not the Luiseno). Before returning to the place of origin, the songs tell of warfare in the northeastern desert area.
Paul Cuero, Jr., who described the Lightning songs to me, has helped out in the singing of them, but he does not sing them on a regular basis. Because of the difficult problems presented in the translation of Kumeyaay concepts into English, the evidence of the songs should be considered carefully until we can interview the Elder who does sing them.

Ball lightning is associated with a Kumeyaay mythological hero named Chaup. Constance DuBois recorded two Chaup narratives in the first decades of the 20th century, one from the Mesa Grande Reservation (DuBois 1904), in northern San Diego County, and two others from Manazanita Reservation in southern San Diego County (DuBois 1906). Consultants at Manzanita for one of the Chaup narratives said that the story had come from Mesa Grande. (DuBois also heard the Chaup story at the Luiseno reservation of La Jolla; consultants there told her they got the story from Mesa Grande. In the Luiseno language, Chaup is known as Taakwish) The Kumeyaay consultants told her that the narratives originated with the Mojave, who are referred to “not as the ancestors of the Dieguenos, (called by themselves “Western Indians”), but as the latest born of the related tribes, who remained in the ancestral home when the other scattered” (DuBois 1906:146.) The narratives are interspersed with songs, which are not translated in DuBois. The narratives themselves have significant differences, but are clearly related in structure. I assume that these narratives may be the context for the Chaup/Ball Lightning songs describe to me by Paul Cuero Jr..

The accounts recorded by DuBois are compilations of mythological events described in a mundane context. The narratives account for the origins of cultural traditions and for the names of plants and animals. In an outline summary of the three accounts given by DuBois [such a summary of a translation cannot begin to do justice to the narratives’ actual content in the Kumeyaay language], Chaup is the grandson of the earth mother, Sin-yo-hauch, the daughter of Sky and Earth, and the first woman. The narrative tells of the birth of Chaup's father, his own conception and his birth among his mother's people, with whom he has a difficult relationship: he is ultimately responsible for the death of his mother and most of his other relations. Chaup has extraordinary powers of transformation and leadership from the time was born. Finally, Chaup undertakes a journey to find his grandmother, Sin-yo-hauch. On that journey, as in his other exploits, many landscape features as well as different groups of people are described without being named. In one narrative, Chaup returns with his grandmother to San Bernardino Mountain, or, per Spier, San Jacinto Mountain (1925:319). (San Jacinto Mountain is located, as are the San Bernardino Mountains, approximately in the middle, north /south, of what was Cahuilla territory at contact, and far north of the border at contact between the Kumeyaay and the Luiseno.) In another version, Chaup flies in the sky as ball lightning and his grandmother lives in the mountains underneath wherever he travels.

Comparing Mr. Cuero’s description with those from the beginning of the century, we could infer that the landscape features and tribal groups described in the translation given by DuBois are implicitly known by Kumeyaay auditors to be those described by Mr. Cuero. This assumption is supported by the fact that Maricopa people associated a large rock feature in their territory with the story of Sin-yo-hauch and Chaup’s father. (DuBois 1906:164). Mr. Cuero’s described the songs as recounting a journey by Chaup beginning in the northeast desert, proceeding south, then west to Ensenada, north to Catalina Island, east to Cahuilla territory, and returning to the place of origin. In one of the three versions published by DuBois (from Mesa Grande, DuBois 1904), Chaup journeys south, west and then returns with his grandmother to San Bernardino Mountains, northeast of Kumeyaay territory.

Ideally, we would have a transliteration of these songs from Kumeyaay to determine, if possible, exactly what groups and areas they describe. Some of the groups described seem to have southwestern cultural traits such as corn. Without either a literal translation or any understanding of the use of allegory and metaphors in the Kumeyaay language – a cultural translation - we simply don't know the full content of the songs or how to interpret the few translations we do have. Mr. Cuero's description of the songs may be a cultural translation, and may help us understand what the Chaup narrative and songs convey to some knowledgeable Kumeyaay persons.
As described by Mr. Cuero, these songs may be important evidence for a shared group identity associated with a large, specific, geographical area and extending back into the Archaic Period. They not only literally picture a world view, the songs cycles may be more conservative and less prone to the fission and fusion of narrative elements which seems to occur with the origin narratives and ground paintings:
A comparison of the songs – both words and tune – which appear to be the elements most frequently and completely transmitted, should readily solve most of the interrelationships of source and of borrowing by the several tribes. The [mythic] narrative material has presumably been much more thoroughly broken up and reassembled in its wanderings from nation to nation (Kroeber 1925:788).
As do the ground paintings, these descriptions and events suggest that the songs reflect knowledge of a Kumeyaay world at a time when the Cahuilla and the Yumans were first coming into contact at the northeastern corner of the Los Angeles Basin, as early as 1000 B.C. but perhaps later as well.

The Ball Lightning song cycle as described does not account for the origins of the world, it may draw the boundaries of a Kumeyaay world by weaving known landscape features into the narrative. The songs may also chronicle relationships of southern California Yuman groups with non-Yuman groups beyond the boundaries of their cultural sphere.

Just as the narratives account for the origin of some cultural traditions, the songs may also be interpreted a traditional pan-Yuman account of the origin of social and linguistic differentiation within a shared Yuman geographical sphere. Scholars estimate those events occurred gradually over the last 2000 years. The Mojave and Quechan groups are not described as outsiders in the songs, as are the Cahuilla, rather the songs are sung in the Quechan and Mojave languages, suggesting that these Yuman groups continued to recognize each other as having a common ancestry or origin, and as kin, even after they developed their distinct languages. The Quechan and Mojave are apparently described in the song as the younger relations of the Kumeyaay; this is particularly significant because the use of kinship terms that distinguish by relative age is a trait particular to the Yuman (Spier 1925:75-76, Eggan 1983:738).
According to Paul Cuero, Jr., the Lightning songs are organized by the journey of Chaup around the boundary of the ground painting. The songs begin in Quechan, then change to Mojave, and finally to Kumeyaay. The Mojave are the youngest, and the Kumeyaay the eldest of the three groups. The present-day Mojave are located north of the present day Quechan, but according to their oral tradition, the Quechan migrated from the area around Needles (Bee 1983: 86). This suggest that the songs date to a time before the migration of the Quechan to their present homeland, whenever that occurred.

Ball Lightning songs and the ground paintings may be evidence that the Kumeyaay recognized a common ancestry among Yuman groups, and that they also recognized an area much larger than that occupied by localized bands as a shared homeland, and that they have done so over a long period of time. The social and linguistic distinctions described in the Lightning songs describe several generations, or stages, of creation. The origin narratives, and to some extent the Lightning songs, link the second stage of creation with the destruction of the original creator, oceanic monster Sky Rattlesnake which led to the knowledge of cremation practices and other esoteric knowledge, thus implicitly recognizing cultural change in the context of an ancient common ancestry of Yuman people not shared by any other southern Californian group.

Shared group identity and a “homeland”:
Based on linguistic and archaeological evidence we have described a proto-Yuman region in the archaic period, extending from the San Diego coast into the Mojave Desert, northern Baja Californian, to the Colorado River, and into central Arizona. At contact, this territory, with the exception the Mojave Desert area south into northern San Diego county, was occupied by Yuman speaking groups. Uto-Aztecan speakers apparently moved in the Mojave Desert before 1000 BC and into the Los Angeles Basin area by 1000 B.C., continuing to expand south into northern San Diego county. According to the oral traditions of both the Kumeyaay and the Luiseno, traditional Luiseno territory, immediately north of traditional Tipai and Ipai territory, was ceded to the Luiseno by the Kumeyaay at an unknown time in the past, presumably at the beginning of the Late Period. (There are sites without stratigraphic breaks in Luiseno territory that date to 4500 years before present (John Gomez, personal communication), but it is difficult to determine Tribal ethnicity in the archaeological record.)
The above is an etic description of a Yuman territory, for which we have relied on linguistic and archaeological data. However, in the emic view, from a Kumeyaay perspective, language may be only one of several factors that influence who is “in” and who is ”out” of the clan, band, tribal, and territorial “ethnic” group. For example, we have seen that the oral traditional evidence of the Ball Lightning songs suggests that the Yuman groups of Mojave, Quechan and Diegueno/Kumeyaay people have identified as a group with particular geographical areas, but that the Mojave and Quechan were allied against the Halchidhoma, Maricopa and Cocopa Yuman Colorado River Tribes (Kroeber 1925:727).

If a shared group identity, described by the Kumeyaay themselves, can be associated with a geographical region, then we would be justified in calling that geographical territory a Kumeyaay/Yuman “homeland”.

The ground paintings represent an emic view of a Kumeyaay group identity, and the fact that among Yuman groups only the Kumeyaay made such images may represent the special significance of their land base for their group identity. The Luiseno made similar ground paintings, but they map a cosmological, not geographical world (Kreober 1925:663). This may represent a difference in philosophical outlook between the Luiseno and Kumeyaay, as Kroeber suggests, or the importance of the Kumeyaay’s relationship to a specific land base, or both.
The ground paintings were used to initiate young men as members of a group whose territory was enclosed within four identifiable mountains and landmarks. In the two ground paintings we have examined, these mountains inscribe two different areas, both of which are included within the etic view of Yuman groups’ territories after 1000 B.C. and before the beginning of the Late Period at 500 – 1000 A.D.
A shared group identity is a recognition of difference, a cognitive map of an “us” as opposed to “them”, and the ground painting and initiation ritual represent and reinforce that distinction for the Kumeyaay by placing physical, and perhaps also metaphysical, boundaries on one’s social and spiritual responsibilities.
The initiation ritual constructs a shared group identity based on a geographical territory, but because neither land base nor identity is named, the group is invisible to non-initiated Kumeyaay. A Kumeyaay shared group identity with a region is not an artifact of material culture or language, or even an artifice of social organization, it is a spiritual practice of constructing a relationship with the land (and with the constellations which are represented in both ground paintings), as the Kumeyaay representatives pointed out, it is the construction of a relationship with, and within, both space and time.

However, according to the anthropological literature, most of the Dieguenos' social organization was locally based:

The Paipai, Kiliwas [in Baja California], and their neighbors…seem to have the simplest social organization extant. They have a remnant of named patrilocal bands, with bilateral descent and inheritance, although names are inherited patrilineally. The kinship systems vary somewhat, but all are basically Yuman. Marriage is monogamous and exogamy is extended to all known bi-lateral relatives. The Tipai-Ipai to the north have, in addition to autonomous, semi-nomadic bands, some 30 or more patrilineal, named clans. The bands were not named, and an individual identified himself by his clan and its places of settlement. Clans were localized, except for the Kamia, so that the clan names implied band and territory as well. There was no standard tribal names, and the terms Tipai and Ipai have been applied by anthropologists in the relative absence of self-designations. One of the western groups, the Cocopa , earlier moved to the Colorado River delta region, where it developed a more complex social organization, related to that of the Quechan and other river peoples (Eggan 1983:736-737).
How can we reconcile this with the idea of regional shared group identity?

In the western Diegueno Yuman groups, Eggan considers that tribal names were absent. (Colorado River groups and the upland Yuman groups in Arizona did have tribal names). However, as we learned above, according to DuBois the Kumeyaay referred to themselves as the “Western Indians”.(DuBois 1906: 146). There is no name known to us that has been used to describe a pan-Yuman geographical region/group. Rather, ethnographic descriptions of the Kamia (Gifford) and the Tipai and Ipai (Spier) describe numerous semi-nomadic bands forming, and formed from, a network of interconnected clans. The clan network extended over a wide area: mission marriage records indicate numerous marriages between Kumeyaay and the Cocopa and Quechan, as well as with the Luiseno (Florence Shipek, personal communication), who at the time of European colonization occupied what was once Kumeyaay territory. It is this regional network of clans to the north, east and south that appears to be recognized through an association with a specific territory in both the Ball Lightning songs and in the puberty ceremony ground paintings.

Perhaps the absence of tribal social organization is not so much an absence as it is presence of the participation in both a localized and regional identity based on the recognition of generalized commonalties such as language, origin narratives, and territorial occupation through time. This network may have accommodated differences in material cultural traditions and ritual practices. Such heterogeneity within a regional identity does not match the anthropological model of a tribe as a homogenous social group. But Kroeber observes that the Kamia and the Quechan appeared to be a single nation along the southern border of California, extending from the Colorado River to the Pacific Coast, even through the respective cultural traits of those areas differed considerably (1925:725).
In 1995, Kumeyaay consultants claimed a shared group identity between the remains in question and closest Kumeyaay Reservation, Viejas. If we acknowledge that there may be different levels of shared group identity, both local and regional, the 1995 claim is not inconsistent with the hypothesis of a proto-Yuman group located between the Pacific Coast and Colorado River in southern California and sharing traditions extending well into the Archaic Period.
We conclude that there is a preponderance of evidence for the cultural affiliation of the remains claimed with the Kumeyaay.

Figure 6 (Kumeyaay Coalition Repatriation Committee)

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