Mojave Desert Indians -
Historic Desert Indian Territories Map:
The Yokuts occupy the greater part of the San Joaquin valley and the lower foothills of the Sierra to the
east. (For type, see Kroeber, 1925, pl. 32 b,e.) They are subdivided into tribes, each numbering two to
three hundred persons, and having a tribal name, dialect, and definite territory. The names are usually
meaningless and end either in amni or a derivative of this or in chi. Neither the Yokuts nor their neighbors
should be called "Mariposans".
The foothill tribes usually occupy smaller areas than those of the valley and are more distinctive in dialects. The
tribe nearest Sequoia Park is the Yaudanchi. Of them, Kroeber says, (1825:479-480):
"The Yaudanchi or Yaulanchi (plural Yauedchani or Yawilchini), also called Nutaa (plural Nuchawayi), 'easterners,
uplanders'—whence Garces's generic designation of the Yokuts as Noche—held Tule River in the foothills, especially
the North and Middle Forks. One of their principal winter quarters was Shawahtau above Springville. Nearby was
Ukunui ('drink'); and house pits at Uchiyingetau ('markings') at the painted rocks, and at Tungoshud ('gate') near
the agency, on Tule River Reservation, hark back either to Yaudanchi or Bokninuwad occupancy. In spring and early
summer they gathered seeds in the vicinity of Lindsay; in late summer or fall they met with other tribes in Koyeti
territory about Porterville for fishing and elk hunting. In dry and hungry seasons, the southern end of Tulare
Lake would be frequented in search of tule roots. All the Yokuts tribes from the Kaweah River south, except
perhaps the Wowol and Chunut of Tulare Lake, and at least most of the adjacent Shoshoneans, were friendly and
appear to have ranged over one another's territory amicably and almost at will..."
To the west of Sequoia Park were the Wukehamni Yokuts of whom Kroeber (p.480) says :
"The Wukahamni, Wikchamni, or Wikchomni (plural Wukachmina or Wikatsmina), whose name was a byword
for "glutton", and who may be the Buesanet of Graces, wintered on Kaweah River near Lemon Cove and
Iron Bridge and frequented the adjacent hills in summer."
The Yokuts have been relatively completely described by Kroeber in the "Handbook of the Indians of California". More
material will be available when Gayton's researches are published.
1. (Yokuts is the singular form.)
Desert Indian Culture
Introduction & Overview
Weapons, Houses, Clothing
Musical Instruments & Misc.
Other Social Customs