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The Kumeyaay People Of California Essay

2396 words - 10 pages


by Your Name (boldface)

ANTH 100: Non-Western Cultures and the Western Tradition

Instructor: Dr. Steven R. James

Nov. 10, 2014

In my quest to study the life of the ancient California inhabitants, I visited the San Diego Museum of Man which is an anthropological museum situated in Balboa Park, San Diego, California. The museum was established in the year 1915 as a result of the Panama-California Exposition where several exhibits were displayed with ‘The Story of Man through Ages’ being the first. At the culmination of the exposition, San Diego Museum Association sought to retain the available collection and start a permanent museum. As a ...view middle of the document...

Artifacts are either tangible or represented by photographs exhibiting the rich culture of these ancient communities.
Among the artifacts available on the second floor of the museum there are bows and arrows. Moreover, a visitor can see sharp stones in the collection of artifacts; these are familiar to those that were used in the Stone Age. Most of the stones resemble the Oldowan tools that were found in Lokalalei in Kenya; some other also resemble the Hand axe found in Bose in China.
In display were other wooden domestic equipment such as wooden pestle and mortar, a spade and a spear. Pottery was not left out of the exhibition as there were several pots, weaving was represented by the skin thread and a hat. Finally, necklaces and other valuable ornaments were in this part of the museum too.
3) Lifeway of the Kumeyaay People
a) Hunters and gatherers
In this section, I will analyze the culture of the Kumeyaay people taking into regard the artifacts available in the museum. To begin with, the bow and arrows could have been used for two main reasons. The first is for hunting wild game. Wild game was a source of food to many ancient communities around the world. On one of the printouts in the museum, I read that the Kumeyaay used to hunt along the coast as well as in the inland and rabbit was their main source of meat. The arrows were made from cane and straightened in soap stone.
Secondly, bows and arrows were most likely used for protection purposes. The two tools are occasionally made from wood and have been in use for a long period of time. In Africa for example; the tools are still being used by many cultures. A community such as the Nomadic Maasai in Kenya of Eastern Africa continues to use the tools for protection against enemies. The fact that Kumeyaay people used these tools means that they at times had to protect themselves from rival communities that they came across. Some of the communities that they might have come into war with include the Kiliwa, Havasupai, Yavapai, and the IpaiTipai (Jake & Hoebel, 1979). The Kumeyaay people could have also participated in games where bows and arrows were used as tools. These games involved shooting targets and were common among boys and young men who made up the warrior group whose sole purpose was to protect the members of the community.
Pestles and mortars are used for domestic grinding purposes even in the modern community. The presence of a pestle and mortar in the exhibition signifies that there were domestic grinding activities among the Kumeyaay. These tools were most likely used to grind and crush tubers and other leafy plants for food. It is documented that the agave was the main source of plant food. The thick fiber of the plant was used to make sandals that were precisely designed for long distance journeys.

b) Sharp stones
The presence of sharp stones in exhibition shows that the Kumeyaay People had lived in the south of California for a long period of time since such...

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