California Indian Cultures
Cultures, particularly in California, tended to be entirely a geographical phenomenon. For example, all of the macro-cultures of California were comprised of more than one language. The macro-cultural borders were, in every case in California, mountain ranges or deserts. Transitional cultures existed in on or about those frontiers where ethnies had first hand contact on a regular basis with more than one culture. As one would expect, the transition cultures tended to have relatively sparse populations.
|Of the five macro-cultures of California, three (Southern California, Central California, Northwest California) were remarkably distinctly Californian. These macro-cultures occupied almost the entire Pacific slope of the state. The remaining two macro-cultures of California (Colorado River, Great Basin), east of the Sierra and Mojave Desert, shared traits with ethnies to their east and, therefore, were not distinctly Californian.|
|There was a body of specific cultural elements that were universal to the three distinctly Californian macro-cultures that distinguished them from all other North American Indians:|
|1. Property boundaries|
|2. Acorns prominent in the diet|
|3. Relatively peaceful in nature|
|4. Absence of drums and use of clapper sticks, whistles, and flutes for music (A few drums in the Northwest culture).|