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Mojave Desert Indians - Historic Desert Indian Territories Map:

Western Mono

The Western Mono territory comprises the western slope of the Sierra from the summit of the watershed to the lower country where they adjoined the foothill Yokuts, and between the Fresno and Tule Rivers. (For type, see Gayton, 1929-a, plates) The northern side of the Kaweah River was occupied by the Waksachi band, the southern side, by the Balwisha (Patwisha) band. Most of the season was naturally spent in the lower hills, as the high Sierra are accessible only in the summer.

Linguistically, they are close to the Owens Valley Paiute, varying from them chiefly as a dialect. This implies an ultimate eastern origin, indicating that they, like the Tubatulabal, are simply a Shoshonean people who, at some time in the past, pushed across the crest of the Sierra.

The Western Mono formerly probably numbered about 2,000; today they have about half that number. Like other remotely located tribes in California, their population has suffered less from the inroads of civilization than that of the formerly far more numerous but accessible peoples, such as the Yokuts.

Very little information is available on the Western Mono near Sequoia Park, except that contained in Gayton, 1929, 1930-a and 1930-b. The Northfork Mono, farther to the north, have been rather completely described in Gifford, 1932. The remaining Western Mono will be fully described when Gayton's researches are published.


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