The Ethnohistory of a Yokuts Tribe
Second Edition, Revised and Expanded
by Robert Fletcher Manlove
Publication Date July 7, 2020
The history of a neglected nation
The first complete scholarly work on a historically significant, yet almost entirely undocumented, California Indian tribe, The Chowchilla traces the history of the Chowchilla from their earliest known origins to today, with detailed information on the tribe’s kinship structure, social customs, and political development.
Until the Spaniards intruded on their territory, the Chowchilla Yokuts were peaceful hunter-gatherers. Outraged by Spanish oppression, the Chowchilla quickly learned the arts of war. They united the tribes of the California interior and led resistance movements against Spanish, Mexican, and American occupation. Among the California Indians, the name Chowchilla was a byword for bravery. Following the consolidation of American control of California, the Chowchilla were driven from their land, were forced to abandon their hunter-gatherer lifestyle, and sank into obscurity. The Chowchilla maintained their tribal identity by staying as out of sight as possible, sometimes not identifying themselves as Indian at all. In modern times, the Chowchilla are regaining their tribal identity and working to achieve federal recognition.
A serious contribution to American Indian history and anthropology, The Chowchilla shows the unique experiences and development of one California tribe from first contact all the way to the present, providing an invaluable reference for future scholars and for native people of other tribes as they redefine their tribes as independent political entities with traditional native values.
This expanded and revised second edition of The Chowchilla has been updated with seven years of additional research and study, shining a brighter light on the tribe’s honorable and courageous fight to preserve their rights against Spanish, Mexican, and American invasions.
About the Author: Robert Fletcher Manlove is a former visiting scholar in anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley, and Dean of the School of Science and Mathematics Emeritus at the City College of San Francisco. He has done fieldwork among the Yurok, Tsi Akim Maidu, Chukchansi Yokuts, and Chowchilla Yokuts tribes of California.
$19.95 US • Trade Paperback • 6″ x 9″ • 158 pages
The Enslavement of California’s Indians by the Spanish Missions
A Cross of Thorns reexamines a chapter of California history that has been largely forgotten—the enslavement of California’s Indian population by Spanish missionaries from 1769 to 1821. California’s Spanish missions are one of the state’s major tourist attractions, where visitors are told that peaceful cultural exchange occurred between Franciscan friars and California Indians.
In schools across the state, as required by the California State Board of Education, fourth graders are taught that life between the friars and the Indians was based on peace and mutual respect. Both tourists and schoolchildren are being deliberately misled—in truth, the missions were places of enslavement and deliberate cruelty.
A Cross of Thorns challenges this mythologized history and presents the facts of the Spanish occupation of California, describing the dark and cruel reality of Mission life. Beginning in 1769, California Indians were enticed into the missions, where they and their descendents were imprisoned for 60 years of forced labor and daily beatings.
The chilling depictions of colonial cruelty in A Cross of Thorns are based on little known church and Spanish government archives and letters written by the founder of California’s mission, Friar Junipero Serra (who advocated the whipping of Mission Indians as a standard policy), and published first-hand accounts of 18th and 19th century travelers.
Tracing the history of Spanish colonization in California from its origins in Spain’s 18th century economic crisis to the legacy of racism and brutality that continues today, A Cross of Thorns is one of the most thought-provoking books ever written on California history.