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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...

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 Tamaioit1 In the beginning, there was no earth or sky 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....

Cahuilla Girls Adolescence

Until within a few years ago, girls puberty ceremonies were observed among the Cahuilla. These were called Hemelonewin1 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...

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...

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,...

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...

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...

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...
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