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Serrano Tribe

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Serrano Indians (Spanish: ‘highlanders’, ‘monntaineer-‘ ). A Shoshonean division with a common dialect, centering in the San Bernardino mountains, southern California, north of Los Angeles, but extending down Mohave river at least to Daggett and north across the Mohave desert into the valley of Tejon creek. They also occupied San Bernardino valley. Fray Francisco Garcés. in 1775-76, described the Serranos near Tejon creek, under the name Cuahajai or Cuabajay (their Mohave name), as living in large square communal houses of toile mats on a framework of willow, each family having its own fireplace; they made small baskets, flint knives, and vessels inlaid with mother-of-pearl, and conducted much trade with the natives of the coast near Santa Barbara. One of their rancherias Garcés named San Pascual. The Serranos on the upper waters of Santa Ana river. He called also by their Mohave name, Jenequich (Hanakwiche). In his time these were approachable “and of middling good heart; they are of medium stature, and the women some what smaller, round-faced, flat-nosed, and rather ugly; their custom in gentiledoin is for the men to go entirely naked, and the women wear some sort of deerskin, with which they cover themselves, and also some small coat of otter or of hare.” The same friar visited the Serranos of Mohave river, whom he designated Beñemé (from Vanyume, the Mohave name of this branch). These were very poor, but possessed baskets, otter and rabbit coats, and some very curious snares which they made of wild hemp. They subsisted on wild game and acorns. “As a rule they are very effeminate, and the women uncleanly, but all are very quiet and inoffensive.” The Serrarios formed part of the Indians brought under San Gabriel and San Fernando missions. So far as recorded the villages or rancherias of the Serranos were: Homhoabit, Jurumpa, Juyubit, Muscupiabit, San Benito, San Gorgonio, San Pascual, Tolocabi, and Yucaipa. In 1885 there were 390 Serrarios attached to the Mission agency, but they are no longer separately enumerated.

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