Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Californians. The aborigines of California form a distinct group of North American Indians, who, despite their favourable environment, occupy an extremely low position in the social scale. Continually encroached upon by the irresistible wave of white immigration, especially since the rush to the gold mines, they have been everywhere driven from the plains to the more inaccessible uplands, and even here they numbered not more than 7,000 altogether in 1890. They are broken up into innumerable tribes, or rather family groups, with no sense of national spirit, such as has been so highly developed amongst the Dacotahs and other prairie Indians. They speak a multiplicity of idioms, whose mutual relations are very difficult to establish, but which possess great philological interest, as showing the various stages of polysynthesis in actual development. These languages have been classed in three distinct groups, with several subdivisions, as under: - 1. Klamath (Lutuami, Yacons, Modocs, Shastas, Eurocs, Cahrocs and many others), occupying the whole of the Klamath Valley, and extending eastwards into Nevada; with sub-branches Pomos ("People"), the collective name of several tribes in the Potter Valley; the Ochecumne, and twenty-five other tribes whose names mostly end in umne, in the Sacramento Valley; and Napa, who give their name to the Napa Valley, North California. 2. Runsiens, including Olhones, Eslenes, Mipacmacs, Yolos, Talluches, and many other coast tribes from San Francisco to and beyond Cape Conception, and inland to Lake Tulare. 3. Cochimi, Guaicuri, and Pericui, of Lower California, mostly extinct. Besides these, the Shoshone (Snake) family of Oregon, Idaho, etc., is represented in California by several tribes, such as the Dieguenos (Kizh, Netela, Kechi), about S. Diego, the Cahuillos and Chemehuevi in the south-east corner; and the Athabascan family by the Hoopahs of Hoopah Valley, including the Haynaggi, Tolewah, Siah, and Tahahteen. Such was, roughly speaking, the original distribution of the Californian aborigines before the irruption of the white settlers. Near Benton, in South California, Lieutenant Wheeler found (1875) some rock scratchings, which seemed to bear some resemblance to archaic Chinese hieroglyphics. On this and other equally fanciful grounds attempts have been made to connect the natives of California with the Chinese, Japanese, Malays, and other Eastern peoples. Such theories, though very popular, are baseless, and the Californians must be regarded as aborigines, in the same sense that all the other primitive inhabitants of the New World are aborigines. The most comprehensive account of the Californian peoples will be found in H. H. Bancroft's Native Races of the Pacific States, 5 vols., 1875-76.