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The Southern Sierra Miwok Language (1964), by Sylvia M. Broadbent

3. Wild Foods (Pages 152-159)

3. Wild Foods (Pages 152)
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3. Wild Foods
(Conversation between John Lawrence and Chris Brown)

JL: (1) Say that I'm eating angleworms with acorn mush, I'm eating angleworms with biscuits, say that.
CB: (2) You do the talking. Where can I get angleworms when I go fishing?
JL: (3) Right in front here, in the flat ground.
CB: (4) I want to get some angleworms.
JL: (5) I can eat angleworms with biscuits, you'd better say that.
CB: (6) I can eat angleworms with biscuits, sir. (7) Tell me if you ever ate any.
JL: (8) No.
CB: (9) When is it that edible cocoons will come out, sir?
JL: (10) What's that?
CB: (11) Cocoons.

3. Wild Foods (Pages 154)
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JL: (12) Oh, there aren't any of those cocoons around this time.
CB: (13) Are they coming out now?
JL: (14) No, they won't come out.
CB: (15) They went, isn't that it.
JL: (16) Oh, a long time ago they used to come out twice [a year].
CB: (17) A long time ago the Indians used to eat those cocoons.
JL: (18) Yes.
CB: (19) And these grasshoppers, isn't that right.
JL: (20) In a soup, those.
CB: (21) And some things they call /?oko•met/.
JL: (22) /?oko•met/.
CB: (23) We used to eat any old thing, sir.
JL: (24) Pandora moth caterpillars.
CB: (25) But Pandora moth caterpillars are from higher up [in the mountains].
JL: (26) We used to eat that just the same.
CB: (27) Yellowjackets, too, isn't that right.
JL: (28) Yellowjackets, I guess so.
CB: (29) Those used to be the Indians' food, long ago.
JL: (30) Uh-huh.
CB: (31) They used to be smoked out, to get them . . .
JL: (32) They used to chase them.
CB: (33) We used to chase them when we were children, a long time ago, that's what the shaman [JL] means.
JL: (laughter [at being called a shaman]).
CB: (34) Hey, I, one time—(er, er)—I dug him up, he stung me all over. I yelled and yelled for sure.
JL: (35) I yelled loud, say.
CB: (36) Hey, I really hollered, sir.
JL: (37) His feet were pretty hot, you would say.
CB: (38) Yes.
JL: } (laughter)

* * *

CB: (39) This is my older brother,' he came out from the east; we are people from the mountains, Yosemite Valley people. We are the only ones left alive, isn't that right, sir.

1Although John Lawrence and Chief Leeme may have been related, they were not literally brothers; this statement probably refers to membership in the same moiety. John Lawrence did not otherwise claim to belong to the Yosemite Valley band; even here, his agreement with Chief Leeme is a little reluctant.

3. Wild Foods (Pages 156)
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JL: (40) That's right.
CB: (41) There's nobody else.
JL: (42) No.
CB: (43) Nobody left.
JL: (44) (uh-huh).
CB: (45) Maybe there isn't anyone now who could keep up with us.
JL: (46) Nobody.
CB: (47) That can call himself that.
JL: (48) Surely not, nobody.
CB: (49) Playing that, what did we used to do?
JL: (50) (uh-huh), yes.
CB: (51) They want to listen to this one that the Indian women used to play.
JL: (52) Oh, those things.
CB: (53) How did they do those things?
JL: (54) They used to shake dice in their hands.
CB: (55) They used to shake them [in a box], these dice.
JL: (56) All of it, playing dice, playing football, all sorts of things they used to play. Long ago, that was what the women used to play.
CB: (57) The women used to play that.
JL: (58) (uh-huh); they used to play handgame at night.
CB: (59) Just the women.
JL: (60) Just the women, that's the way I saw it.
CB: (61) We've all seen that.
JL: (62) (uh-huh).
CB: (63) The women used to play this on something, too, on bone awls, isn't it.
JL: (64) They used to play that too, on those little awls or something, yes.
CB: (65) Yes, and this too, weaving.
JL: (66) They used to weave baskets.
CB: (67) That's it, sir, their baskets.
JL: (68) They used to make baskets.
CB: (69) Yes.
JL: (70) They used to do basketry, cooking baskets, carrying baskets, hey:
CB: (71) Hey, that's it, that what the Indians did, lots of them. Where are they now? There aren't any, they're all dead.
JL: (72) They're all gone that could do that kind of work.
CB: (73) They used to like this, cracking these, to eat this . . . that . . .

3. Wild Foods (Pages 158)
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JL: (74) (an unidentified seed)
CB: (75) Their seeds.
JL: (76) Redmaids.
CB: (77) Redmaids.
JL: (78) And something else, manzanita berries.
CB: (79) Yes.
JL: (80) And here's another—sourberries.
CB: (81) Sourberries too.
JL: (82) Gooseberries.
CB: (83) Gooseberries.
JL: (84) Hey, strawberries.
CB: (85) The strawberries are now all gone everywhere.
JL: (86) Blackberries.
CB: (87) Blackberries there are still below here.
JL:. (88) Yes, all those things the Indians used to eat, long ago.
CB: (89) They probably lived pretty well.
JL: (90) (an unidentified plant)
CB: (91) /hak•ahi?/, maybe; what's that, sir?
JL: (92) Here in the valley near the bridge, it has white flowers.
CB: (93) So that's /hak•ahi?/.
JL: (94) Yes.
CB: (95) I'm forgetting all these things.
JL: (96) Yes, I know that. Grass nuts.
CB: (97) Grass nuts.
JL: (98) The Indians used to eat that, long ago.
CB: (99) And this, also, that they call /?o•luju?/, isn't that right.
JL: (100) Yes, that's right.
CB: (101) What's that /?o•luju?/?
JL: (102) Something or other, what's it, what is its name, they used to say "niggertoes."
CB: (103) Is it /?o•lu•ci?/? /?o•luju?/?
JL: (104) It's /?o•lawci?/, yes.
CB: (105) I know, then, lots of things, also brodeia bulbs, the Indians used to eat that.
JL: (106) Brodeia bulbs, (107) that's another kind of meat to the Indians.
CB: (108) Hey, they used to enjoy eating that.
JL: (109) Yes.
CB: (110) Think of some other things.
JL: (111) I'm [trying to think of] other things. Here's one, they used to eat clover.

4. Measuring Worm (Pages 160)
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CB: (112) Clover, that's it.
JL: (113) Sour clover.
CB: (114) We eat that sour clover.
JL: (115) Grass nuts [another kind].
CB: (116) That's a different kind of grass nuts, I don't know them.
JL: (117) (an unidentified seed)
CB: (118) I know those.
JL: (119) All that. A kind of grass.
CB: (120) Grass. (121) Our people used to eat that.
JL: (122) Yes, the Indians used to eat it.
CB: (123) Hey, it's a long time since the people used to eat that kind. Now we're nothing but hungry.
JL: (laugh) (124) That's the truth, that's what the Indians used to eat
long ago. (125) Now there's nothing.
CB: (126) Now there's nothing.
JL: (127) Everybody now is looking for bread, the Indians.
CB: (128) Now everybody's thinking about bread.
JL: (129) That's all they think about.
CB: (130) Yes.
JL: (131) But these old-timers, the old women, hey, they'd put on a pack basket and go out to gather sour clover.
CB: (132) Hey, they'd put on a pack basket.

Next: Measuring WormContentsPrevious: Gathering Wild Foods

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Online Library: Title Author California Geology History Indians Muir Mountaineering Nature Management