Collection Description

Brief Culture Description

Culture Name


Culture Description

The Native American Yokuts of the San Joaquin Valley and the adjacent foothills of the Sierra Nevada in south-central California, traditionally included some forty to fifty subtribes grouped into three divisions; the Northern Valley Yokuts, the Southern Valley Yokuts, and the Foothills Yokuts. Traditionally the Yokuts were foragers with substantial regional variation as to their dependence on fishing, hunting, and gathering. They lived mostly in permanent residences. The Yokuts were heavily engaged in trade with their neighbors prior to European contact. The Yokuts recognized by the federal government live on the Picayune, Santa Rosa, and Table Mountain rancherias and the Tule River Reservation in California.


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North America --Northwest Coast and California


United States

OWC Code


Collection Information

Number of Documents


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Number of Pages


Collection Overview

Documents referred to in this section are included in the eHRAF collection and are referenced by author, date of publication, and eHRAF document number.

The Yokuts file consists of twenty-three documents, all in English. The documents discuss the Yokuts in the San Joaquin Valley and Sierra foothills of central California, in the United States. Some of these documents include a small section on the archaeology of the area and so they cover a time period from 8000 B.P to 30 B.P (6,000 B.C. to the 1970s A.D.). Most of the documents, however, concern themselves with the period from Spanish contact to the 1970s (1770s A.D. to 1970s A.D.).

An in depth study can be found in Latta (1949, no. 3), an amateur ethnologist. Other cultural summaries are found in Kroeber (1953, no. 2), Wallace (1978, no. 22 and 1978, no. 23), and Spier (1978, no. 24). Other brief glimpses of Yokuts culture can be found in Gayton (1936, no. 11) who presents a portion of a Spanish Lieutenant's diary from 1819 and Powers (1877, no. 7) who wrote about the Yokuts of the early 1870s. Yokuts language is discussed by Kroeber (1907, no. 8) and Silverstein (1978, no. 18). Shamans, ceremonies, and other aspects of religion can be found in Gayton (1948, no. 1) who presents an in-depth study, with shorter works found in Gayton (1930, no. 6 and 1976, no. 20), Riddel, (1955, no. 13), and Gayton (1940, no. 16). Gayton (1930, no. 6) also examines chiefs and their interaction with shamans. How the environment shaped the Yokuts culture and how the Yokuts shaped their environment is examined in Gayton (1946, no. 4), Beals (1958, no. 10), and Preston (1981, no 19). Arkush (1993, no. 17) briefly looks at Yokuts trade and how Yokuts trading affected acculturation with their neighbors. Names and naming are discusses in Kroeber (1906, no. 15), ceramics in Gayton (1929, no. 5), population estimates in Cook (1955, no. 12), and music and song are described in Hatch (1958, no. 14). And finally, the bibliography for eHRAF documents no. 18, 22-24 can be found in Anonymous (1978, no. 21).

For more detailed information on the content of the individual works in this file, see the abstracts in the citations preceding each document.

This culture summary is from the article, "Yokuts", by Gerald F. Reid in the Encyclopedia of World Cultures, Vol. 1, North America, Timothy O' Leary and David Levinson, eds., Boston, Mass.: G. K. Hall & Co., 1991. The synopsis and indexing notes were written by Sarah Berry in July-August 2000. Population figures were updated by Marlene Martin in 2001.

Overview by

Sarah Berry

Collection Indexing Notes

104 Glass Trade Beads - see categories 301, 431, and 439

Indexing Notes by

Sarah Berry

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