Indian Summer: Traditional Life Among the Choinumne Indians of California's San Joaquin Valley

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Heyday Books [and] California Historical Society, 1993 - History - 125 pages
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In 1850, six-year-old Thomas Jefferson Mayfield was adopted by the Choinumne Yokuts of California's San Joaquin Valley. For the next dozen years he slept in their houses, joined them on their daily rounds, and followed them on their annual expeditions by tule boat to Tulare Lake. He spoke their language, wore their style of dress, ate their foods, and in short, lived almost entirely like an Indian. The reminiscences he left behind are unique: the only known account by any outsider who lived among a California Indian people while they were still following their traditional ways. Rich in detail and anecdote, Indian Summer tells how the Choinumne built their houses, navigated their boats, hunted their game, and prepared their foods. It also provides a rare and welcome glimpse into the intimacies of daily life. Enlightening as well are descriptions of the natural landscape of the San Joaquin Valley in the 1850s--of the expansive flowery meadows, the lakes and sloughs, the great forests of valley oaks, the herds of antelope, the surge of salmon that fought their way up the rivers, the flight of geese and ducks that darkened the sky. Abounding in information that anthropologist John P. Harrington described as "rescued from oblivion," Indian Summer portrays with accuracy, zest, and insight the nearly lost and beautiful world of the Choinumne Yokuts and the valley in which they lived. --From publisher description.

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About the author (1993)

Malcolm Margolin is an author, publisher and founder and executive director of the California Institute for Community Arts,and Nature. Throughout his prolific career, Margolin wrote several books on California natural history, cultural history and Indian life, such as The Ohlone Way: Indian Life in the San Francisco-Monterey Bay Area; founded the independent nonprofit publisher Heyday; oversaw the creation of the magazines News from Native California and Bay Nature; and was deeply involved in a variety of cultural institutions like the Alliance for California Traditional Arts, the Inlandia Institute, the California Baksetweavers Association and Advocates for Indigenous California Language Survival. He will be awarded the PubWest's 2020 Jack D.Rittenhouse Award during the PubWest 2020 conference in February 2020. His next book, Deep Hanging Out: Wanderings and Wonderments in Native California, will be published by Heyday in 2021.

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