Home A - Z FAQ Art Prints Online Library Discussion Forum Muir Weather Maps About Search
Online Library: Title Author California Geology History Indians Muir Mountaineering Nature Management

Next: TrailsContentsPrevious: Currency

Miwok Material Culture: Indian Life of the Yosemite Region (1933) by S. A. Barrett and E. W. Gifford


TRADE

The Central Miwok, dwelling in the foothills near Knights Ferry, were in the habit of trading certain seeds for digger pine nuts from people who dwelt somewhat higher in the foothills. Fish taken and dried at Knights Ferry were traded for salt from people still higher in the mountains. The Knights Ferry informant, Louis, had never heard of his people journeying so far into the mountains as Big Trees, Calaveras county. Sugar pine nuts from that region were brought down by other Indians and traded to the Knights Ferry people. Salt from the Mono country on the east side of the Sierra Nevada was brought over by the Eastern Mono in “loaves.” These loaves were presented to a Miwok chief to inaugurate the exchange of products. He reciprocated with a gift of acorns or other products desired by the Mono. Trade between Miwok and Mono friends was a matter of reciprocal gifts, between Miwok and Mono strangers a matter of bargaining. Yosemite valley, in Southern Miwok territory, was visited by Eastern Mono who brought commodities to trade with the Miwok.

A few rabbit-skin blankets were made by the Central Miwok of Knights Ferry, but the bulk were imported from the Miwok higher in the mountains, who in turn obtained them from the Eastern Mono. Sometimes a Mono would give one to a Miwok friend, who would reciprocate with an arm’s length of clam shell beads (howoku, C). Bird skin blankets were unknown at Knights Ferry. Black obsidian (kitcé, C) also came from the mountains, usually in the form of arrowpoints (cawa, C) already made; but sometimes the raw material was brought. A supply was always kept at Knights Ferry, as there were no local substitutes for it. Black was the preferred color for obsidian, but it was described as also coming in red and white.

Shells were obtained from the ocean by the Miwok journeying to the coast for them. Whether this occurred before the coming of the Spaniards is uncertain. At any rate, it was a prevalent custom after the coming of the Spaniards. The shells brought home were worked locally. One Central Miwok woman made a trip to the ocean (polaiau, C) to get shells after the Americans came. However, her prime motive for the trip was to get out of the country after a stabbing affray.



Next: TrailsContentsPrevious: Currency

Home A - Z FAQ Art Prints Online Library Discussion Forum Muir Weather Maps About Search
Online Library: Title Author California Geology History Indians Muir Mountaineering Nature Management

http://www.yosemite.ca.us/library/miwok_material_culture/trade.html