Native California Guide

Aug 15th, 2001 | By | Category: 13-1: Honoring Our Students & Alumni, Media Reviews

Trees Company Press; 2000
297 pages

Review by Rick Heredia

This is a comprehensive, informative guide to the Indians of California. It includes an essay and other information on D-Q University in Davis, CA, the state’s only tribal college. The book is in four parts: the evolution of California Indian culture; the Indians of Northern California; the tribes in Southern California; and finally, a list of resources, references, and social services. It includes a calendar that lists powwows, Big Times, festivals, feasts, and other events.

Lavishly illustrated with color and black-and-white photographs, the book also includes maps. Many of the photographs are historical and offer an intriguing look back at California Indian life. The author describes rancherias and reservations in both a historical and contemporary context. Essays written from a tribal person’s perspective accompany these descriptions.

These essays are one of the book’s strengths: The author has wisely let the Indians speak for themselves. Their voices give the book an immediacy and authenticity that it would otherwise lack. Interspersed throughout the book are articles on various aspects of California Indian life, such as music, dance, art, food, clothing, and casinos.

This is the author’s third book on Indians of California and the best one to date.

Rick Heredia, a Northern Paiute, is a freelance writer living in Fresno, CA.


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