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Yoktjts

dance, dead and shell

YOKTJTS, yt)-kiTits' (People). A numerous group of Californian Indian tribes constituting what is known as the Mariposan stock (q.v.). They range over the country about the up per San Joaquin River, with Tulare Lake and its tributary streams. Their villages consist each of a single row of conical or wedge-shaped lodges of tole rushes, set in perfect line, and with a continuous arbor of brushwood extending along the front. The first lodge is occupied by the village chief, whose office is hereditary, the next by the principal priest or master of cere monies, after which come the common people. The ordinary weapon is the how, with a peculiar jointed arrow, which can he lengthened or short ened according to the distance of the object aimed at. Shell beads are prized both as ornaments and currency and even now are rated as more valuable than coin. The rattlesnake and eoyote are held sacred and never molested. The Yokuts make beautiful baskets, cradles. sifters, and the like, of grass and various woods. using a sharp ened bone for an awl. They are great gamesters. especially at dice made from split walnuts inlaid with bright-colored abalone shell. The standard

of morality is comparatively high. They are not warlike and do not practice scalping. The dead are usually buried. but sometimes cremated, the mourning period continuing until the next Dance of the Dead. Their two great annual ceremonies are the snake dance in the spring. in which the initiates dance and run about after the manner of the more celebrated Hopi society, and the Dance of the Dead. which. after several clays and nights of lamentation and frenzied perform ance. concludes with a wholesale sacrifice of the most valuable property upon an immense funeral pyre erected to the memory of those who have died within the year. A few of the Yoknts are now gathered upon the Tule Ftiver reservation near Port ersville, and some were also ail:Idled to the old missions. but the great majority are in cluded anumg the 1(1.000 Indians of southern California reported as not under agency super vision. Consult Powers, "'Tribes of California." in eriegn Ethnology (1877).