Topic: Cahuilla

Cahuilla Burial Customs

As soon as a Cahuilla dies, he is washed, dressed, and taken to the ceremonial house, kishumnawat. The members of his clan gather round the body and sing all night. If the deceased was a man, the Creation story is sung, if it was a woman, a song about the Moon is sung, for the Moon was the teacher and best friend of the women. If death has occurred to either man or woman by accident, the Battle song is always sung. They sing for a while and then stop and cry and blow upwards three times. This is all

Cahuilla Creation Story

With all their geographical proximity to the Yuma and Mohave, the Desert Cahuilla partake essentially of the native civilization of the Shoshonean coastal tribes of southern California. Birth of Mukat and Tamaioit 1The only previously recorded information on the Cahuilla origin story is the outline given by E. W. Gifford, Univ. Calif. Publ. Am. Arch. Ethn., xiv, 188, 189, 1918. T. T. Waterman has summarized and analyzed most of the literature on the origin myths of the southern California Indians in the American Anthropologist, u.s., xi, 41-55, 1909. In the beginning, there was no earth or sky or anything or

Cahuilla Indians Food

The native belief is that all food was once human and could talk just as we can. Mukat designated certain people in the beginning who were to become plants and be converted into food for our use. The mesquite tree is the main reliance of the Desert Cahuilla for food. It is their staple. The mesquite tree grows to a height of from thirty to forty feet. The wood is very hard, and all of it, even the roots, is used as fuel. The leaves are small and abundant and the branches very spiny. On the desert, in the Coachella

Cahuilla Girls Adolescence

Until within a few years ago, girls puberty ceremonies were observed among the Cahuilla. These were called Hemelonewin 1Present series, viii, 66, 1908 pem-iwolu-niwom. or sometimes Hemelushinum. They were held at the time of a girl’s first menses. The father of the girl informed the people of her condition and called them together for the ceremony, which began the first night of her menstruation. A hole was dug in the ground several feet deep and long enough for the girl to recline in. In this stones were placed and a fire built to heat them. “When the stones became hot

Cahuilla Tales And Beliefs

Future Life Mukat created a place in the east as a residence for the spirits of the dead. This was called Telmikish (compare telewel, spirit). At the entrance to Telmikish were two constantly moving mountains or large hills. They would come together and separate, come together and separate this movement never ceased. Montakwet was made guardian of this entrance, and he will never die. When the spirits of the dead find their way to him, he questions them. One of the tests he puts to them is the making of many figures in the game we know as “cat s

Cahuilla Calendar

Several informants stated that there were only three seasons Taspa budding of trees Talpa hot days Tamitva cold days August Lomas of the Martinez reservation, my most reliable informant, named eight seasons, each one based upon the development of the mesquite bean, which used to be the main food. They were Taspa budding of trees Sevwa blossoming of trees Heva-wiva commencing to form beans Menukis-kwasva ripening time of beans Merukis-chaveva falling of beans Talpa midsummer Uche-wiva cool days Tamiva cold days The old men used to study the stars very carefully and in this way could tell when each season

Cahuilla Dogs

Dogs can not talk, but they understand everything that is said. They have a soul just as we have. When the people left Mukat s house and came to this valley, there was one dog with them; his name was Hakliswákwish. The people on the Martinez reservation still name their dogs after that first dog. From the very beginning, dogs were given certain names, either because of their looks or their individual actions. Sometimes people named their dogs after certain spots in the mountains which they considered their own. Following is a list of dog names which are said to

Cahuilla Industries and Knowledge

For a long time, the Cahuilla say, they did not wear any clothes at all. The first they had were breech clouts of deer skins and mountain sheep skins. In cold weather they used skins thrown over their shoulders. Mesquite bark was rubbed and pounded and pulled until it became soft. It was then used as diapers for babies and skirts for women. Warm blankets of rabbit skin strips were woven. Cahuilla Earth-Covered Homes The sweathouse or hoyachet was quite extensively used among the Cahuilla in days past. There is one which is still used on Morongo reservation. This is

War and the Cahuilla People

The Cahuilla, like most of the California Indians, have been a very peaceful people. Their main troubles were between villages, and were caused by boundary disputes. Each village had definite boundaries, within which the inhabitants lived, hunted, and gathered mesquite and other food products. Food was very scarce in the old days and any infringement of one group on the land of the adjacent group was considered grounds for enmity and often subsequent war. Poisoned arrows were used when it was considered necessary. A small strip of flesh which is connected with the lungs of animals was dried and softened

Cahuilla Social Life

The Cahuilla are organized in exogamous moieties, the Wildcat moiety (Tuktum), and the Coyote moiety (Istam). Descent is reckoned upon the paternal side. These two moieties are divided into numerous clans, most of which appear to be localized. The majority of the clans are supposed to have received their names from the place in which the people of the clan first lived. Other clan names became attached to a family because of some special characteristic of its members. The women remain in -the same clan before and after marriage. Mukat belonged to the Tuktum moiety for he was a Tukut.