Digital-Desert : Mojave Desert
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Mojave Desert Indians - Historic Desert Indian Territories Map: Serrano

SERRANO ETHNOGRAPHY & ETHNOHISTORY

Social Structure

The territory of the Serrano, a non-political ethnic nationality (Kroeber 1925:615-616), was divided among a number of politically independent groups, which were patrilineal, patrilocal corporate clans, each of whom belonged to either of two exogamous moieties, Coyote or Wildcat. Each clan was composed of lineage sub-units, each of which had its own territorial base within the clan territory, the remainder of which was shared. It was, furthermore, forbidden that individuals marry anyone related to them within five generations. It follows that marriages across clan boundaries were necessary. The clans were divided into autonomous land-holding lineages. Each of these lineages had a chief, or ki'ka, with religious and political functions. His office was in general hereditary. His principal assistant was the paha, who assisted him in ceremonial, political, and economic affairs.

Throughout the year, individuals or groups left their communities as necessary to hunt, collect and gather, and process foods. They also collected whatever materials the environment or other groups could provide that were deemed necessary or useful (Bean field notes 1958-1970).

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