Washo Religion Part 8

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Mooney, James 1896. The Ghost Dance Religion and the Sioux Outbreak of 1890. BAE 14th Ann. Report, Part 2, pp. 641-1136.

1928. Aboriginal population of America North of Mexico. SI-MC 80, No. 7, Washington, D. C.

Siskin, E. E.

MS The Impact of the Peyote Cult Upon Shamanism Among the Washo Indians.

Ph.D. Diss. 1941. Yale Univ.

Steward, Julian H.

1936. Myths of the Owens Valley Paiute. UC-PAAE 34:355-440.

1941. Culture Element Distribution, XIII: Nevada Shoshone. UC-AR 4:209-360.

Stewart, Omer C.

1941. Culture Element Distribution, XIV: Northern Paiute. UC-AR 4:361-446.

1944. Washo-Northern Paiute Peyotism. UC-PAAE 40:63-142.

Whiting, Beatrice Blyth 1950. Paiute Sorcery, New York.


1 W. L. d'Azevedo, basing his opinions on extensive field work in the area, contends that early estimates of Washo population were incorrect and that modern figures based on these estimates are inaccurate. A contemporary estimate, made by a resident journalist in 1881, was somewhat over 3,000.

2 This statement should not be considered as an indication of matrilineality in Washo society. Freed and d'Azevedo, who have done extensive work in kinship and social organization of this group, seemed to agree that the Washo were loosely bilateral with certain formalized patrilineal elements. However, because of fragile marriages, many Washo have had a longer and closer a.s.sociation with their mothers' families than with their fathers', or with those of any of their mothers' subsequent husbands.

3 Kluckhohn reports that the payment for joining a coven of Navajo witches is often the life of a relative (1947, p. 131).

4 This story very closely parallels one recorded by James Hatch among the Yokuts. Kroeber Anthropological Society Papers, No. 19, Fall, 1958.

5 Regular Indian doctors were forbidden to treat members of their own families, a prohibition which appears not to have extended to a non-shamanistic curer.

6 Captain Jim is the only Washo whom the Washo generally accept as having been a leader of the entire tribe. Other claimants to the t.i.tle of chief of the Washo are contemptuously discounted. There were in the past a number of men, usually considered leaders of a "bunch" who were called "captains" or, less often, "chiefs" because they dealt with the white population. The entire inst.i.tution of captain may well be a post-white development.

7 The willingness of the Washo to send gravely ill persons to the hospital seems in part motivated by the wish to avoid a death in the house.

8 The concern for these particular graves may be in part motivated by the fact that they are a focal point in a Washo land claim. Because of California law concerning cemeteries, the Indians contend that the tourist camp presently on the site is there illegally and that the land is theirs. Thus far the camp operator has been enjoined from removing or desecrating the graves, but the Indians' claim has not been considered.

9 This statement was made to point out to me that in other times only special people, inspired by dreams, would have suggested a rabbit hunt.

10 This kind of a statement was common and whenever it was made suggestions of special power were made explicit later in the conversation, or were implied by the att.i.tude of the informant.

11 Used in an adjectival sense. In the reference below prayer is used nominally.

12 No matter how reluctant aged Washo may have been to discuss other aspects of the past, they became eloquent about any occasion on which food was plentiful. They describe in minute detail the kinds and amount of food at a feast although they cannot remember the time, place, or those present.

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Washo Religion Part 8 summary

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