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Mojave Desert Indians - Historic Desert Indian Territories Map:

Tübatulabal Indians

The home of the Tübatulabal lay on the main and South Branches of the Kern River, their territory thus extending up the former to its headwaters in Sequoia Park. This was, however, too high to be settled permanently and served as no more than summer hunting territory. It is likely that Western Mono and possibly some Yokuts also visited this section, so that its assignment to the Tubatulabal follows mainly from its greater accessibility to them.

The Tubatulabal spoke an isolated Uto-Aztecan language. The degree to which the Tubatulabal language diverges from its Shoshonean kin shows that these people have been more or less isolated in their mountain home for a considerable period. However, in most respects their traditional culture was more similar to that of central California groups, such as the Yokuts, than to that of the Tübatulabal's Great Basin relatives.

Tubatulabal traditional narratives include myths, legends, tales, and oral histories preserved by the Tubatulabal people of the Kern River basin of the southern Sierra Nevada in California.

Tubatulabal oral literature was most similar to that of the Great Basin, rather than central California.

They were on friendly terms with their various neighbors on the western slope of the Sierra whom they often visited, and even joined during certain seasons. The legend that they raided the peaceable valley Yokuts from time to time is therefore pure fancy, without foundation.

Tubatulabal is a Shoshonean term meaning "pine nut eaters".

Their former population may have numbered 1,000. In 1925 there were 100 to 150.

Ecosection M261E - Sierra Nevada

Tubatulabal woman

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