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The Cahuilla Tribe Essay

881 words - 4 pages

Many Americans will think of the Sioux, Cherokee, Iroquois, or Navajo etc when they think of Native Americans. From my home state of California comes the Cahuilla Tribe. My Native American tribe might not be the most well-known but I believe that once you read this paper, you will be fascinated. You might be wondering about what they eat, what type of house they live in, the relationship they have between other tribe and settlers, or their clothing. I will answer all those questions and much more.
The Cahuillas live in the center of southern California and they first inhabited southern California from about 2,000 years ago. The villages were in many different locations, which started in the low valleys and up in the mountains. The villages stretched from the Salton Sink which has the elevation of 273 feet below sea level to the peaks of the San Gorgonio Mountains and the San Jacinto Mountains. Many Cahuilla people still live in the same area today. The Cahuillas often traded with close tribes, such as the Mojave, Luiseno and the Gabrielino. The Cahuillas were especially close to the Gabrielinos and they often went to each other’s festivals. The first interaction between the Cahuillas and the Europeans was in 1774 but the Europeans didn’t bother the Cahuillas because their territory was to inland and dry, so the Europeans thought it was a wasteland. The relationship between both of them worsened in 1850 because more settlers moved into their territory due to the gold rush. The Cahuillas soon started to attack any settlers when they set foot on their territory, but in 1863 the smallpox epidemic hit California killing over five thousand Cahuillas. The population of the Cahuillas dramatically dropped from ten thousand to two thousand five hundred people. The settlers soon saw how valuable their land was so they began to build railroads tracks because the Cahuillas lost too many people to have the ability to fight back.
Because their territory stretched between many different life zones, they had a greater variety of animals and plants they can hunt and gather. The lower Sonoran zone is in the desert below the Juniper-Pinyon belt and it consists of 60% of the Cahuilla land. The lower Sonoran zone has the most variety of animals which includes badger, chipmunk, cottontail, seven different species of mice, mule deer, raccoon, rats, kangaroo mice, and squirrels. Arrowhead, cactus, California fan palm, Mojave yucca, and saltbush are just some of the plant resources found here. The upper Sonoma is about one to five thousand feet above sea level...

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