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Yokut: Wikis


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The Yokuts (at one time also known as Mariposans[1]) are an ethnic group of Native Americans native to inland central California. Before the arrival of Europeans (pre-contact), the Yokuts consisted of up to 60 separate tribes speaking the same language. Some of their descendants prefer to refer to themselves by their respective tribal names and reject the name Yokuts with the claim that it is an exonym invented by English speaking settlers and historians. Conventional subgroupings include the Foothill Yokuts and the Valley Yokuts. Yokuts tribes populated the San Joaquin Valley from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta ("the delta") south to Bakersfield and also the adjacent foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountain range, which lies to the east. In the northern half of the Yokuts region, there were some tribes inhabiting the foothills of the Coast Range, which lies to the west. There is evidence of Yokuts also inhabiting the Carrizo Plain and creating rock art in the Painted Rock area.

The numbers of Foothill Yokuts were reduced by around 93% between 1850 and 1900. A few Valley Yokuts remain, the most prominent tribe among them being the Tachi. Only a few Yokuts tribes have been federally recognized.

Mariposa Indian Encampment Yosemite Valley California painted by Albert Bierstadt



Estimates for the pre-contact populations of most native groups in California have varied substantially. (See Population of Native California.) Alfred L. Kroeber in 1925[2] put the 1770 population of the Yokuts at 18,000. Several subsequent investigators suggested that the total should be substantially higher[3] Robert F. Heizer and Albert B. Elsasser 1980[4] suggested that the Yokuts had numbered about 70,000.

Kroeber estimated the population of the Yokuts in 1910 as 600.

Tribes and villages


Yokut bands

  • Casson
  • Choinumni
  • Chukchansi
  • Tachi (Tache)
  • Wukchumni[5]

Current communities

Trading routes

Yokuts are known to have engaged in trading with other California tribes of Native Americans including coastal peoples such as the Chumash of the Central California coast, with whom they are thought to have traded plant and animal products.[6]

Notable Yokuts

See also

Further reading

  • Cummins, Marjorie W. (1978). The Tache-Yokuts, Indians of the San Joaquin Valley. Pioneer Publishing Company. ISBN 0-914330-24-1.  

External links


  1. ^ Powell, 1891:90-91.
  2. ^ Kroeber 1925:883.
  3. ^ Baumhoff 1963; Cook 1955; Wallace 1978.
  4. ^ Heizer and Elsasser 1980:16.
  5. ^ a b California Indians and Their Reservations. SDSU Library. (retrieved 25 July 2009)
  6. ^ Hogan, 2008


  • Baumhoff, Martin A. 1963."Ecological Determinants of Aboriginal California Populations". University of California Publications in American Archaeology and Ethnology 49:155-236.
  • Cook, Sherburne F. 1955. "The Aboriginal Population of the San Joaquin Valley, California". Anthropological Records 16:31-80. University of California, Berkeley.
  • Heizer, Robert F., and Albert B. Elsasser. 1980. The Natural World of the California Indians. University of California Press, Berkeley.
  • Kroeber, A. L. 1910. On the Evidences of Occupation of Certain Regions by the Miwok Tribes, University of California Press, Berkeley, Vol. 6 No. 3 p. 370 [1]
  • Kroeber, A. L. 1925. Handbook of the Indians of California. Bureau of American Ethnology Bulletin No. 78. Washington, D.C.
  • Powell, John Wesley Powell 1891. Indian Linguistic Families Of America, North Of Mexico, Government Printing Office, Washington, pages 90-91.[2]
  • Wallace, William J. 1978. "Southern Valley Yokuts". In California, edited by Robert F. Heizer, pp. 448-469. Handbook of North American Indians, William C. Sturtevant, general editor, vol. 8. Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.
  • Webb, Frederick 1910. Tachi and Tammukan, in Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico, Government Printing Office.[3]


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