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In the early 1850s, Thomas Jefferson Mayfield spent 10 years of his childhood living with and being raised by the Choinumne Indians at Tulare Lake (in the San Joaquin Valley). For years at a time he only spoke their language. But for the rest of his life he refrained from talking about his experiences due to the climate of the time (e.g., the Choinumne were at war with the state of California not too long after he lived with them)--until the late 1920s, when local historian Frank F. Latta, recorded his memories.

The book, in Mayfield’s own words, describes many aspects of daily life, including house construction, interactions with neighboring peoples, hunting and gathering, cooking, domesticated animals, story telling, and child’s play. There’s also a fair amount of vocabulary.

Story: Indian Summer: Traditional Life Among the Choinumne Indians by RP



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