Ceremonies of the Pomo Indians

Pp. 107-130, plates 1314. February, 1908 3. Pomo Indian Basketry, by S.A. Barrett. Pp. 133-306, plates 15-30, 231 text figures. December, 1908 4. Shellmounds of the San Francisco Bay Region, by N.C. Nelson. Pp. 309-356, plates 3234.

Ceremonies of the Pomo Indians

It has been at least twenty years since the last of the Pomo ceremonies was held in a truly aboriginal fashion. Elaborate ceremonies of a more recently introduced "Messiah" cult were held as late as perhaps fifteen years ago, but these "Messiah" ceremonies contain only a few features common to the indigenous tribal observances. Dances are even yet to be seen in connection with some celebrations, principally on the Fourth of July, but there now remains so little that is really primitive about these that they are virtually worthless to the student. Information obtained through direct observation is at present, therefore, impossible, and we must depend for our knowledge of Pomo ceremonies and ceremonial organization upon the statements of the older men, and particularly those concerned with such matters in former days. From such sources rather full information concerning some of the ceremonies and dances is obtainable, but, under the circumstances, it is impossible to secure exhaustive data concerning all of them. In many instances informants recall only a few of the details of a given ceremony or dance. Sometimes only its name is remembered. Doubtless even the recollection of some ceremonies and dances has been lost. During a residence in the Pomo region from 1892 to 1904 the existing vestiges of some of these Pomo ceremonies were observed whenever possible, but no attempt at a systematic collection of data on the subject was made until 1903 and 1904, when this work was undertaken in conjunction with the collection of Pomo myths, as part of the investigations of the Ethnological and Archaeological Survey of California, maintained by the Department of Anthropology of the University of California through the generosity of Mrs. Phoebe A. Hearst. This information was obtained from informants of three Pomo dialects—Northern, Central, and Eastern. Where a native term is used in the following pages, therefore, the dialect is indicated by N, C, or E, in parentheses directly after it. The phonetic system employed is fully explained in "The Ethno-Geography of the Pomo Indians."

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