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Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Location and resources

These photos were taken at Hospital Rock in Sequoia National Park. This area was a favorite haunt of the local tribes such as the Yokuts and the Tubatulabal. There is still an abundance of food in this area. Black bear, deer, and several species of small game are found here. I wouldn't doubt grizzly bears were frequent visitors to the local river and streams. At one time salmon and trout as well as other fish were abundant in the nearby waters. The first three photos show ancient pictographs or rock drawings made by tribes who lived in the area. Obviously they considered this area very important. Near the drawings are several acorn grinding mortars carved into solid granite.

This next photo shows an interpretive sign near the mortar holes. Left click on it to enlarge. It explains quite a bit about the use of these mortars.

This is a photo of part of the rock showing several mortars.

Here's a closeup of some of the mortar holes.

This photo shows a pair of ground squirrels on a nearby boulder. These would be trapped or hunted with bows and arrows or rabbit sticks.

In this next photo you can see a variety of trees that would supply materials and food. The purple trees are Western Redbud. It was used extensively for basket making. Other valuable trees are Oak and California Buckeye. Obviously Oak supplied the acorns (I identified 4 species of Oak in the immediate area) and California Buckeye was used for fishing in the nearby streams. The buckeyes were ground up and added to the water in a still area or a place that was dammed temporarily. The alkaloids in the buckeye seeds stunned the fish causing them to float to the surface where they were easily gathered. California Buckeye was also used as "starvation food" as a last resort. The seeds were buried in mud until they turned black. This leached the poison out of them making them safe to eat. Also growing amongst the trees is Mountain Mahogany, currants, gooseberries and several other species of edible and useful plants.

If you left click on this photo you'll see several tall stalks, especially on the hillside on the right. These are the flower stalks of Yucca. The stalks themselves were used for many different objects such as arrow quivers, musical instruments and hearth boards for fire making. The fresh seed pods are edible and the leaves contain strong fibers for cordage making.

This last photo gives you an idea of the abundance of fresh water found here. For further information on the Indian tribes who lived here there are several books available. My favorite is Paul Campbell's "Survival Skills of the Native Californians". Do an Amazon search for California Indians to see other books available.

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