Indians of California, Part 2 (1955)

An overview of Yokut culture and daily practices including crafting arrows, hunting and cooking practices, and storytelling.

Opening titles “Indians of California, an Arthur Barr Production” over an illustration of a Yokut village (which band is not specified); a man in a loin cloth sits outside a tule mat smooths a long limb of an elderberry wooden bow with a small smooth stone; now on a blanket by a tree the man smacks a piece of obsidian wrapped in a small piece of buckskin folding in half on a piece of wood; closer view of his hands as he shapes the arrow head by hitting the edge of the obsidian, he checks his work and continues; different shot of him using a small piece of smooth piece of antler to snap off edges and he empties out the chips from the buckskin, checks his work and continues; different shot of same where he shows the finished arrow head; wider shot and close up of the man fitting the arrow head onto the fore-shaft; different shots as he pulls a string of sinew out of his mouth and wraps the area where the head and shaft meet; he pulls a grooved hot stone out of the fire pit and runs the longer part of the shaft back and forth through it to smooth; closeup of the action, then the man inspects its straightness; close view of him scraping the hollow shifters of feathers and attaches them to the end of the arrow’s long main shaft with sinew and twists more sinew to the very tip; close up of him attaching a hollowed tube-like socket to combine the two shafts together and inspects his work; he gets up with his new arrows and places the special fore-shafts into a small pouch and the long shafts into a buckskin and fir-trimmed quiver, he grabs his bow and leaves; the man and an older boy wearing the skull, skin and antlers of deer creep along walking with long sticks through a field and knock their bows and arrows together, the man hears something, motions to the other to keep quiet, and points at something off-screen; a deer walking along; back to the pair sneaking along; a deer alert and listening; a closer view of the boy in head, skin and antlers; he then stalks along through the field along a river bank and pulls out an arrow main and fore-shafts from his belt; close-up of him attaching them and placing the arrow in his mouth before he continues stalks between trees; another image of the deer listening; the boy crouches on one knee and readies his bow and arrow and shoots; the two men carrying back to the village a killed deer tied by its legs to a branch, two small children run up to look as they place the deer on the ground; a woman in grass skirt and buckskin top hangs strips of deer meat from a pole between two trees; wide shot of two women gathering acorns from the ground into flat baskets; closer shot of same; one woman pours the acorns into large mouth of a large conical shaped “burden basket”; the two women walk past trees with the large baskets tied to the foreheads; a woman standing before a storage granary structure shaped like a pointed rocket head (and made of willow poles?), she pulls black oak acorns from her basket and stuffs them in the granary; closer view of her filling her basket by pulling them out from between the bound poles; now she’s seated between two baskets of acorns, one shelled, on unshelled, and she cracks them by hitting them with a small white round stone; closeup of same; back to wider shot of two women sitting atop a large granite boulder pounding with longer oblong stones (pestle) the acorns in indentations in the rock (mortar holes), trees and mountains in background, baskets nearby; closer shots of one woman working as she pounds the acorns into a white-ish meal and sweeps the scattered bit into the hole with a little brush and then she picks the meal out of the hole with her hand and places it on a flat basket; with the basket she gently shakes the courser, larger pieces back into the mortar hole, and the finer grain into a nearby basket; a woman runs her hands and swirls around a large pile of sand, river behind her; closer shot of her placing large leaves atop the sand and spreads acorn meal onto it from a basket; she heats a stone she picks up between two sticks/tongs over a nearby fire pit; then close up of her placing it into a basket of water, it steams; she then takes the rock out and places it into another basket of water and stirs with long sticks which have been bent to create a loop at the end; she then places it back into the fire pit; she adjusts a large bundle of brush that had been placed over the meal with one hand and with the other she grabs a small bowl of hot water from the other basket and pours it over the meal through the bundle of brush; she then dips her finger in the meal to taste and adds more water to the mix; she then pulls off pieces of a sun toasted flat cakes and places them on a flat basket; she then pats them flatter and places them on a rock in the fire pit; a man, woman and two boys around a fire pit next to a tule grass dwelling — the man roasts meat over the fire via a long branch while the woman heats a rock via the looped stick; closer view of her stirring a large basket of mush with the stick and them removes a stone; the family group sits around the basket and eats the mush with their hands; closer view of same, including the remnants of the meat carcass in another basket; the woman, a younger woman and two boys sit in a circle as the older woman speaks and gestures, tule grass dwellings behind; a different shot of same; End titles: plastic letters spelling out “The End” in a flat basket.

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