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Anthropological Notes

Nature volume 71, pages 452453 (09 March 1905) | Download Citation



AN interesting paper by A. L. Kroeber on the types of Indian culture in California is to be found in vol. ii. of the Publications of the University of California— “American Archæology and Ethnology, 1904.” Ethnologically, California is characterised by the absence of agriculture and pottery, by the total absence of totemism or gentile organisation, by an unusually simple and loose social organisation in which wealth plays a rather important part, by the very rude development of all arts except basketry, by the lack of realism in art, by a slight development of fetishism and by the conspicuous lack of symbolism and ritualism, by the predominance among ceremonials of mourning and initiation rites, and by a considerable development of true conceptions of creation in mythology. The natives are of an unwarlike nature, and lack intensity and pride. It will therefore be seen that in almost every instance the Californian Indians are among the least characteristic of the Indians of North America, being lacking in the typical qualities of that race, and thus they are the most generalised of the peoples of that continent. In the same volume Dr. Kroeber gives an account of the languages of the coast of California south of San Francisco.

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