Re: amerindian assimilation in california

Gerold Firl (
9 Aug 1996 20:50:46 GMT

In article <4uefii$>, (Eric Brunner) writes:

|> Gerold Firl ( wrote:

|> Umm, Gerold, "Colusi County"?

The name was changed to colusa county in 1856.

|> : Mary Beth had also claimed that any children produced by a white/indian
|> : liason would not be accepted by white society, but would instead be
|> : considered indian. I haven't seen any discussion of the status of such
|> : children in pioneer society, but here is an interesting passage from
|> : _tortilla flat_, john steinbeck (1935):

|> Geeze. I grew up here, Woody is a Salinian for DoG's Sake! You think JS
|> wrote "history"? One Mega-ACK!

Steinbeck wasn't a historian, no, he wrote fiction. Are you saying that
he invented the paisanos out of whole cloth? I really don't know; I
presented that passage from _tortilla flat_ as a data-point, but I
don't know just how true-to-life it is (or was). Judging by what I know
about steinbeck, and how he wrote, I would expect that there is some
truth to it. If you know better, do inform me.

|> : streetlights, the old inhabitants of monterey are embattled as the
|> : ancient britons are embattled in wales. These are the paisanos....
|> : what is a paisano? He is a mixture of spanish, indian, mexican, and
|> : assorted caucasian bloods. His ancestors have lived in california for a

|> It was considered good prose in the 30's. It made (inpart) our area rich
|> on tourist money, and after the Guise overfished the sardines (after running
|> out the Gold Rush Chinese fisheries), there really isn't a lot of economic
|> raison d'etre for the Peninsula.

Have you read _tortilla flat_? If you think steinbeck was describing
the paisanos as some kind of tourist attraction, I'll have to disagree.
The paisanos lived out in the woods, sometimes in houses (though only
the most affluent establishments had such luxuries as glass in the
windows, or running water; electricity was out of the question. The
book is set during the late teen-early twenties). Paisanos didn't have
regular jobs, and their clothing was fairly makeshift. I don't claim
that _tortilla flat_ is a history book, only that it portrays a
california subpopulation/culture which appears to be a likely
destination for the descendants of the california indians who were
neither extirminated nor segregated.

|> : You might call them "outlivers", these paisanos, and while I have
|> : absolutely no idea how much of their cultural or genetic makeup is
|> : derived from the california indians, they certainly constitute a
|> : plausible destination for the descendants of the squaw men and their
|> : indian "princesses".

|> Well Gerold, I _do_. I know more than half of the Esselen and Rumsen
|> and (tip of tongue SJBapt. mission group, rats) families in the North
|> Monterey County -- as neighbors -- and _none_ are Steinbeckian Paisanos.

Note that the paisanos did not identify themselves as indians. They
preferred to claim spanish blood. This thread is about assimilation,
and what I'm suggesting is that the california indians who did
assimilate (given the difficulties of acceptance into white society
exagerated by mary beth) could have followed the path of the paisanos.

Note that the paisano lifestyle has some similarities to the
pre-contact california indian lifestyle; once enough resources had been
accumulated to have a dance, they would throw a party.

I do not claim to have documented an airtight case, only suggested a
possibility. If you have further information which would shed light on
the subject, lets hear it, but saying that the modern day esselen
indians are not paisanos is a tautology. The paisanos are, by
definition, an assimilated group of outlivers. You can argue that they
have little or no relation to the california indians, but I'd like to
hear your reasons for making such an assertion.

|> : surprised at just how normal most of the day-to-day interactions
|> : between indians and whites actually were. They generally appear to have
|> : related as individuals, rather than as representatives of a race or a
|> : culture. On that frontier, diffusion appears to have occured in both
|> : directions.

|> Umm, Gerold, ever hear of the Bounty Period? Have a thought on what that
|> just could refer to? Hint: How many times does $3,000,000 divide into $5
|> units of ... benefice?

No, I haven't heard of the bounty period. I could guess, but I'd rather
hear about it from someone who knows.

By my reckoning, 3 million divided by 5 comes to 600,000. Are you
saying that is how many bounties were paid? I'm curious to hear just
what that means.

Disclaimer claims dat de claims claimed in dis are de claims of meself,
me, and me alone, so sue us god. I won't tell Bill & Dave if you won't.
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=---- Gerold Firl @ ..hplabs!hp-sdd!geroldf