The American Cyclopædia (1879)/California, Indians of
|←California, Gulf of||The American Cyclopædia
California, Indians of
|Edition of 1879. Written by John G. Shea. See also Indigenous peoples of California on Wikipedia, and the disclaimer.|
CALIFORNIA, Indians of. The Indians of Lower California, at the time of the discovery of the peninsula, comprised two families, the Waikur on the south and the Cochimi on the north. Those of Upper California were of several families. In the north were the Makaw, the Olamentke on Bodega bay, the Mutsun, and Acagchemem near Monterey; there were Shoshonee tribes further south, and then Yuma tribes. All these were on the lowest scale of humanity, went naked, used rude weapons, lived in mere huts of boughs or reeds, and were disgusting in food and manners. Nowhere was there more unpromising material for missionaries, yet in no part were missions established on a grander scale. The Jesuits began their reductions in 1697. A revolt took place in 1734, in which nearly all the missions were suspended, but they were soon restored. They trained the Indians to agriculture and the mechanical arts, and though the sloth of the Indians required a somewhat strict discipline, they made these communities self-sustaining. At the suppression of the Jesuits there were 16 of these missions. They then passed to the Dominicans and Franciscans, and in 1786 could still number 4,000 Christian Indians; but they have since greatly declined. The Franciscans began missions in Upper California in 1768, and conducted them with success, collecting the Indians, training and governing them. In 1834 these missions contained 30,000 Indians. The northern Indians were superior to those of the lower province, making good bows and arrows, nets, and rafts of bulrushes. They burned their dead. Their religious ideas were very vague, the medicine men being as usual the priests. Vapor and hot sand baths were their usual remedies. Under the Mexican government these missions were so broken up that in 1842 the population had dwindled to 4,450, their cattle were nearly gone, and their cultivated lands waste. The Mexican law recognized them as proprietors of these mission lands, but under the United States government this right has been ignored, and the surviving mission Indians in the counties of San Diego and San Bernardino, numbering 5,000, are homeless. They are to a certain extent civilized, and are hired by the whites. A proposal to place them on a reservation has led to difficulties fanned by interested whites. Besides the remnant of mission Indians, there were in 1871 800 Hoopas and Siahs, at the Hoopa Valley agency on Trinity river; 2,365 Klamath Indians, on the river of that name; 796 Ukies, Pitt Rivers, Wylackies, Concows, and Redwoods, on Round Valley reservation; 176 Tulés and 198 Tejons on the Tulé reservation; 500 Wichumnies, Coweas, and Yokas, in the same county; and about 15,000 of other tribes scattered in various parts.