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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