Yokuts (American Indians Ready Reference)
The Yokuts inhabited a south-central portion of California. They hunted, fished, and gathered for subsistence. Yokuts Indians fished throughout the year using nets, spears, and basket traps to catch trout, perch, and chub. Fish not eaten immediately were sun-dried. Men used nets, snares, and wood-tipped arrows to capture deer, rabbit, squirrel, and pigeons. Nets and snares were utilized to capture geese, ducks, and other waterfowl. Seeds, turtles, roots, and shellfish were gathered.
The Yokuts lived in permanent single-family, oval-shaped dwellings covered with tule mats or in long mat-covered structures that housed ten or more families. Water transportation was accomplished with the use of canoe-shaped balsa or tule rafts. Men wore deerskin breechclouts, and women wore aprons of the same material. Mudhen or rabbit cloaks were worn in cooler weather.
Tribe members observed a number of superstitions and taboos to preserve health and good luck. Shamans were generally men. They were thought to receive their powers through dreams. Shamans cured the ill and led rituals. Healing methods included sucking out diseases or draining portions of blood. Several shamans used the datura plant, processed into a hallucinogenic drug, to arrive at a diagnosis.
In 1772, Pedro Fages explored Yokuts territory. Other explorers followed but had little direct effect on tribal life. Indians from other tribes fleeing the missions reached Yokuts tribes. Some...
(The entire section is 354 words.)
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