The homeland of the Uto-Aztecan speaking Tubatulabal is centered on the confluence of the Kern and South Fork Kern rivers, and adjacent Greenhorn Mountains of California. The traditional subsistence economy was based entirely on gathering wild plant foods (especially pine nuts and acorns), fishing, and hunting. Bands, informally led by a headman and a dance manager, were aggregates of small hamlets of two to six households, each living in their own circular, domed, brush- and mud-covered house.
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North America --Northwest Coast and California
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Almost nothing is known of the Tubatulabal before 1850, a fact reflected in the documents, all but one of which draw upon some historical material. There are two distinct periods of fieldwork: the first three and a half decades of the twentieth century, and a few years either side of 1970. Voegelin (1938) is the main ethnographic source, based on fieldwork carried out over three consecutive summers from 1931 to 1933. Gifford (1917) examines kinship terminology. A summary of Tubatulabal culture is found in Kroeber (1925). Smith (1978) provides an updated summary.
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