Digital-Desert : Mojave Desert
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Mojave Desert Indians - Historic Desert Indian Territories Map:
Indian Culture
(Owens Valley Paiute, Tubatulabal, Western Mono, Yokuts)


Tobacco

A species of Nicotiana, which was probably not cultivated, was smoked by the tribes of the western slope of the Sierra. The pipe employed was always tubular, generally being a few inches long, of pottery (see illustrations of Western Mono pipes in Gayton, 1929, pl. 102, and description, p. 246) made in a manner similar to pottery vessels. The Yokuts (Kroeber, 1925:538 and plate 30-c,d) and the Owens Valley Paiute pottery pipes (Steward, 1933:268, 319-320, and plate 4, a-c) resemble those of the Western Mono. Wooden tubular pipes were probably used occasionally by all these people (for Yokuts type see Kroeber, 1925, plate 30-c, d; for Northfork Mono, see Gifford, 1932: plate 15-c,e) while stone (steatite) pipes were less common, probably being employed more often by the shaman. Another form of pipe common to these people is a section of cane. (Kroeber, 1925:538, 836-7.)

In addition to smoking, tobacco was chewed with lime by the Tubatulabal (Kroeber, 1925:608) and the Yokuts (ibid., 538.) Tobacco decocted in water was occasionally drunk by the Yokuts (Kroeber, 1925:538) though this may have been semi-religious. The Owens Valley Paiute semi-cultivated Nicotiana attenuata Torr. which was generally smoked by men and chewed by women mixed with burned shells or ashes. (Steward, 1933:319-320.)

Consumption of tobacco among all these people was moderate. It had a number of ceremonial purposes, being used, for instance, by the shaman.

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Desert Indian Culture

Combined Ethnography

Introduction & Overview
Tribal Distributions
Subsistence
Weapons, Houses, Clothing
Pottery
Basketry
Cradles
Other Weaving
Musical Instruments & Misc.
Tobacco
Transportation
Trade
Games
Social Organization
Money
Other Social Customs
Ceremonialism
Archaeology
Bibliography



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