Death Valley Indian Community

Death Valley Indian Community

The Death Valley Indian Community is home to the federally recognized Timbasha Shoshone. This reservation was not formally recognized as an Indian reservation until 1982. It encompasses just under 10,000 acres. President Hoover took the tribe’s ancestral lands to create the Death Valley National Monument in 1933.

Agua Caliente Indian Reservation

California Cahuilla Indian Reservations Map

The Agua Caliente Indian Reservation is home to the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians. This tribe received federal recognition in 1957. The Agua Caliente Indian Reservation was founded in 1896. A period of forced cultural assimilation followed, including taking Indian children to boarding schools where they were forbidden to speak their language.

California Indian Geographical Cultures

Hundreds of Diverse Cultures

The early Native California Indian communities were astonishingly diverse in culture and way of life, ranging from the seafaring Chumash to the agricultural Yuma to the nomadic Modoc.

Native California groups numbered more than 500 individual tribes or bands, spoke at least 100 different mutually unintelligible languages, ate different foods, and practiced different religions. These communities had no alphabets and left no written records for historians to interpret, so what we know about Native Californians before the arrival of Europeans is based on four sources:

  1. archaeological evidence;
  2. early records of European explorers and colonists;
  3. oral histories given by tribal elders in the early 20th century; and
  4. oral traditions passed down to later generations of Native Californians.

Native American place names in California

This is a list of Native American place names in the U.S. state of California.

Costanoan Subdivisions and Villages

The Costanoan language formed one division of the Penutian linguistic stock. Costanoan speaking people lived on the California coast between San Francisco Bay and Point Sur, and inland probably to the Mount Diablo Range.

California Penutian Speaking Tribes

Penutian roots are old in California and expanded after Hokan languages were established in the state. To the extent that language and culture may be related, Penutian was the most typically “Californian” of any linguistic root language. In 1750 AD speakers of Penutian tongues occupied nearly half of California and were a solid block of about 30 groups in the California heartland.

California Indian Languages

California Indian Languages Map

California Indian Languages

Before European contact, native Californians spoke over 300 dialects of approximately one hundred distinct languages. All but sixty-four are extinct today, with many more languages likely to disappear in our lifetime.

California History Timeline

California history timeline from 1492 to 1906.

Native American Bone Chokers

Native American bone chokers originally were made from bird legs. They were seldom used as just ornamentation. They were used as physical protection for the throat from a possible knife attack. The jugular vein is in the neck and is lethal if cut. They were also used in conjunction with physical protection as a spiritual protection for the voice. Because most birds are noted for the sounds they make or for their singing quality. The spirit of the bird could be invoked to protect the person’s voice from ailments, jealousy or fatigue.