Friday, July 15, 2016

Book Review: The Great Basin Indians

The Great Basin Indians: Daily Life in the 1700s, Karen Bush Gibson, Bridgestone Books, Mankato, MN, 2006.
My only complaint about this book is I was wanting more, but when you read a children's history book there isn't more.  However a quick review of what there is.  A map shows five nations. The Goshutes are not included.  Shoshone have two groups, mostly in Utah and then in Wyoming.  Bannock are in Utah.  Paiute have two areas as well, northern Nevada and Oregon and southern Utah.  Utes are mostly in Colorado.  Washoes are in western Nevada.  
Those who lived on the desert were much influenced by the environment.  They were unable to farm due to the environment. They gathered grass seeds, nuts, berries, insects and small game. They were nomadic, and formed small groups of a few families.  Some traveled form area to area with the gathering.  Others travelled form the valleys in winter to the mountains in summer to avoid the heat. Some formed larger groups, tribes which were run by a chief or council. The decisions made included where to gather or hunt, and when to go to war.  The more eastern groups had access to buffalo, and lived in tepees.  The more western groups built wickiups from branches bark and grass.
The piñon hunt in the fall was important. There were also rabbit round ups.  Netting would be used to entrap the rabbits.  They also fished.  Some groups would smoke salmon.  Milkweed fibers were used for clothing.  Rabbit skins and buck skin would also make nice clothing.  Buffalo was often too heavy for clothing, but good for ground cover and tepees.  
This book mentions a game called kill the bone. Also round dance in Autumn with the piñon harvest and bear dance in spring.

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