Desert Region Natives

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The Desert Region Indians lived in the Santa Rosa Mountains and the San Bernardino Mountains. Others lived in the valleys of San Jacinto and the Mojave Desert. The names of the tribes were the Mojave, Serrano, and Cahuilla. These Indians were also spread across Nevada and Arizona. Desert Regions Indians lived in many different places.

There were very little natural resources in the desert region because it was very hot , but these Natives used rivers and streams. Rivers were used to grow food so farms were often close to water. The Mojave built their homes near next to the Colorado River. Cacti, yucca plants, and desert springs had water too. If there were no resources in the desert region, Indians would not have enough things to use.

Food was scarce and hard to find but farms provided food. Pumpkins, melons, corn, and beans were vegetables that they ate. These Natives also ate screwbeans, mesquite seeds, and pinon nuts. There were very little food choices for these Natives.

Dome shaped brush homes were the houses Desert Indians made. Other homes were rectangular shaped. These homes were built in canyons and next to springs. Shelter was important for these Indians.

(Charles November 18, 2008)

Do you know where the Cahuilla lived? They lived southeast of California, in the Desert Region. Their area covered parts in the San Bernardino Mountains, San Jacinto Mountains, and the Santa Rosa Mountains. Land that they owned also covered foothills. The Cahuilla may also live in desert areas at the base of mountains. Villages are also built in canyons near spring, or water. Some areas that have tall canyon walls provided shade for them. The walls protected them from strong, fierce winds. Cahuilla lived very different that other tribes.

Cahuilla used special types of houses in the desert region. Some of the houses were made of brush. These houses were dug deeper than other houses. Dome shaped houses were also used in this tribe. Leaders get the largest house in the whole village. These houses were shaped like a half circle. They also depended on the natural resources around them. Since they lived in the desert, not many resources can be used to build their houses. Cahuilla are unique because their housing was very different from other tribes all around California.

The Cahuilla’s diet is very different than other tribes all over California. There were very small populations of food in the Desert Region. During acorn gathering season, many families of this tribe leave their village to look, and gather acorns in other places were oak trees grew. When they are not gathering acorns, they hunt for cactus, mesquite beans, screw beans, and pinon nuts. If they are not going to eat the food, they will store it in special designed pots for the winter. Cahuilla Indians are special, but the food was scarce in the land that they lived.

Customs and celebrations happen to all of the native tribes. Cahuilla Indians wore special feathered headdresses, shook rattles, and danced to honor Great Spirit. They may also sing songs. Most usually make clay pots. Some may also sing after an Indian of their tribe dies. This is called a funeral ceremony. Cahuilla also told stories. One of them is about they were made. Another one is how they survived and lived in the desert.

Trading was important to the Cahuilla. Since they lived in the desert, they could trade their clay pots for things or materials that they don’t have. They would often trade with the Serrano and the Gabrielino. The Cahuilla traded their clay pots for things like fish, necklaces, and other things. Pots were made from the Cahuilla and the Mojave. They would often store food in these pots for the winter. These were also used for trading with other tribes.

Bowls were also made by the Cahuilla. First, they use finely crushed rocks. Then, they roll the rocks to look like a long sausage. Finally, they put it into the jar. After many days, the crushed rocks will form into a bowl.

(Alicia February 4, 2010)

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