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Berkeley Anthropological Records And The Dogs Of The West Coast Tribes

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Posted 20 May 2012 - 02:48 PM

Here is an article from DOG LAW REPORTER: Reflections on the Society of Dogs and Men, written by John Ensminger, and reprinted, here, with permission.

From Kim La Flamme: A highly educational, fun read, recommended by the Founder / trustee of the AI dog breed; A very thorough informative research study of the “First Peoples Dogs” ; on Hunting, Training, housing, by John Ensminger. With some quotes by our AI dog founder / Kim La Flamme




Berkeley Anthropological Records and the Dogs of the West Coast Tribes


Dogs were present in most Indian cultures west of the Rockies, though this was not true of a number of tribes north of the San Francisco Bay Area (Heizer 1953). Kroeber argued that the tribes in this area at some point “lost the habit of keeping dogs.” Dogs were not generally eaten west of the Rockies, though they were by the Yokuts of the San Joaquin Valley (Gayton 1948) and a few other tribes. Most accounts argue this generally happened only during famines. Spirit-possessed dancers devoured live dogs in some cultures, particularly in the Northwest, yet other tribes in northwest California and on the Oregon coast regarded dog flesh as virulently poisonous. (Kroeber 1941)

Dogs were more often used for hunting in the West than was true of the Great Plains Indians, which was due in part to the fact that buffalo herds could be stampeded by dogs, and controlled drives using dogs were less common in the Plains. Training dogs for hunting involved mixtures of actual training and ritual, as to which the Anthropological Records printed at Berkeley from the mid-1930s to 1960 provide tantalizing hints, though training is seldom described in detail. There were memories of those interviewed by the anthropologists of what dogs were like before the whites arrived but, unfortunately, those memories are often inconsistent even among the informants of a single tribe. Though used for transport by some groups on the West Coast, the travois was not nearly as prevalent as on the Great Plains.

Although a good deal of Native American rock art includes depictions of dogs, it is often difficult to tell if they are performing a function. The painting included in Teit’s paper on the Thompson Indians of British Columbia may involve a hunting scene, but this would probably require reinterpreting what Teit calls “unfinished basketry” as a hunting nets or catch lines. (To enlarge image enough to read text, [edit] click on image.) Similarities of North American rock art to panels found in the Near East, discussed in a prior blog, are evident.

1Teit 1900 rock painting with dogs.jpg

Domestication

Essene (1942) records a legend that dogs were first captured by putting human feces at the entrance of a mountain cave and catching the dogs that came out to eat it. Nomland (1938) records a story of northern California Indians regarding the origin of dogs, which suggests that an early value was the use of dogs in deer hunting:

“A long time ago Indians had no dogs. They could not shoot deer and get them, but must set snares and chase them. One time a younger brother told his older brother that he would go hunting with him. The older brother said, ‘No, you're too young,’ but the younger brother went along in spite of him. The younger brother went to sit down, and the older brother said he was going to sit too. Younger brother said he was going to be a dog and for older brother not to be surprised if he heard a dog bark. Younger brother went and ate older brother's excrement and turned into a dog. He chased deer and caught him. Other people said, ‘What is that?’ They did not know dog. Older brother tried to tell them what it was but only cried. Older brother told his wife to make a big basket and to feed the dog outside. The wife asked him where his younger brother was and the older brother told her he had turned into a dog. That dog left for two or three months. He could not talk any more, just shook himself all over when he saw his older brother. He went away again and brought two dogs home with him from where he had been with Coyote. He had mated with Coyote and from then on Indians had dogs. That's what makes dogs so smart. Indians buy dogs. They pay good money for them because they are so smart They pay maybe one boat or one string of Indian money for them.”

Interbreeding with coyotes is frequently mentioned. Gayton and Newman (1940) relate a naming myth of the Yokuts:

“Lizard told Dog to go back in the mountains to live with Bear and Cougar. But Dog refused and asked for a choice. He said he wanted to live with human beings, and would be content to eat anything they did not want.”

Hunting

The use of dogs for hunting was widespread west of the Rockies. Kroeber summarizes:

“In general, free-running animals in open country, like the antelope, were not often hunted with dogs. In the Great Plains, whole herds of buffalo might have been stampeded and lost through dogs being turned on them. On the whole, the deer is the animal most often hunted with dogs, especially where it can be driven to water; but in parts of the Basin and Southwest it is denied that dogs were used for deer. Mountain sheep and mountain goat can often be successfully distracted, held, or driven past an ambush with dogs. For small game the practice varies.” (Kroeber 1941)

2Anell drives into water.png

The first map, from Anell (1969), shows areas where tribes drove game into water. This practice, though found elsewhere, was particularly common on the West Coast. Anell provides the following summary of the use of dogs in driving herd animals into water, traps, nets, and other places where the game was killed or captured:

“Among the Chilkat Tlinkit [dogs] were used to drive mountain goat, among the Kluckwan Tlinkit mountain sheep. Otherwise the use of dogs is most frequent on the Northwest Coast, for water drives (Tlinkit, Tshimshian, Kwakiutl, Nootka, almost all Coast Salish, and Quinault). For water drives they were also used by the Coeur d’Alene and Thompson, while the evidence for the Sanpoil, Shuswap, Chilcotin, Carrier, and Kutenai states that they were used ‘in all hunting’. Among the Takelma dogs were used for drives against pounds, while a number of tribes in Northern California … used them for the same purpose as on the Northwest Coast, that is, to assist in water drives. Among the Tolowa they were also used to drive game towards snares and pitfalls, among the Shasta only for the former method. The use of dogs for ‘driving and pursuing’ is further reported for the Atsugewi, Achomawi, Wintu, and Mountain Maidu, while running down of the game with dogs seems to have been practiced by a number of Miwok groups and the Yokut of San Joaquin Valley. In Southern California dogs are used in ‘communal drives’…. Dogs are moreover used for deer hunts among some Northern Paiute groups…, among Southern Paiute…, among some Nevada Shoshoni … and for antelope hunts among the Kidu and Kuyui Northern Paiute, and the Lida Shoshoni in Nevada, but as a rule it would seem that they were not swift enough for this quarry. They appear to have been far more suitable for driving mountain sheep, for which purpose they were for example used among the Northern Paiute…, among the Northern Shoshoni…, and among the Nevada Shoshoni….”

Despite this elaboration, Anell concludes that the use of dogs in driving was less frequent than might have been expected. He attributes this to the fact that use of dogs in open country would require more training than was generally evident, and the fact that the “indigenous dog races were not at all possessed of the physical qualities of the European races, and often were neither swift nor terrifying enough to be of use in hunting big game.” Nevertheless, as will become evident in the following analysis, dogs were of considerable use to hunters west of the Rockies.

There was commerce in dogs, particularly hunting dogs. Steward (1941) said that among some Shoshone the price of a dog was a string of shell money that the dog would wear as a collar.

Deer

Teit (1900), describing the Thompson Indians of British Columbia, writes:
3Teit dog halters.jpg

“The hunter started out before daybreak with his dog or dogs in hand. The animals were held by a halter … with a toggle, which prevented the noose from closing tightly. Some hunters carried a small quantity of sweet service-berries, which they ate when feeling exhausted. Having reached a place which the deer frequented, the hunter singled out the tracks of some large buck, let the dogs loose, then followed himself as fast as he could run. The dogs generally ran the deer to water, very often driving him to the large rivers; and the deer, if possible, made for some favorite crossing-place. At these places, especially in the fall of the year, Indians were always on the watch. As soon as the deer took to the water to swim across, two or three pursued him in a canoe, crook at the end. His head was pulled under water, and kept there until he was drowned. The deer was then pulled ashore, skinned, and cut up. Or the dog brought the deer to bay in some creek, keeping him there until the Indian came up and dispatched him. A dog that could do this was most valuable.”

The drawings of dog halters are taken from Teit’s book about the Indians of British Columbia. The ability to control dogs with these halters and slip them at the right moment suggests a significant level of training dogs for the chase.

Teit (1930) writes that Salishan Indians near Coeur D’Alene ran deer to bay or to water with dogs. He states that the ancient dogs of the area were said to have been small, with face and ears resembling those of coyotes, but their colors were dark or bluish gray, spotted, or mixed. Leashes of hunting dogs were made of rope.

Voegelin (1942) records that in northeast California bucks were tracked with dogs. There were two sizes present and the larger dogs were used in hunting deer.

Drucker (1941) records that the Yuman and Piman tribes of southern California and Arizona did not, according to most informants, have many dogs and did not use them in deer hunting, though one informant said the Pima used dogs in driving game.

Holt (1946) writes of the Shasta Indians that dogs “were used very little in deer hunting except for tracking wounded deer. They were used mainly to tree wildcats, panthers, fishers, bears, etc. The Grizzly Song was sung to them to make them brave and the Blowfly Song to make their scent keen ‘because the fly can smell anything; no matter what you have, the fly is the first one there.’ Their noses were rubbed in ashes to keep them from getting ‘salmon sick,’ poisoned by eating salmon. All this was done while they were puppies.” Kim La Flamme (personal communication) explains that ash was sometimes given to dogs to kill the flukes that dogs would get from eating salmon, and that the prevalence of this disease may explain the lack of dogs among tribes in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Steward (1941) records that among the Nevada Shoshone, dogs “were generally regarded as unsuited for hunting deer, though used in northern California.” His field lists indicate that deer were sometimes driven with dogs. One group bathed dogs the night before hunting and painted their faces with red stripes. They could drive deer out of brush at their owners’ commands, indicating significant training. They were also used to hunt small game. Stewart (1941) says the Northern Paiute did not use dogs often, but sometimes in deer hunting. For the Southern Paiute (1942), he records that deer and elk were driven by dogs, as were mountain sheep. Teit (1900) says that dogs could run elk down “when the snow was deep and had a thick crust.”

Gifford (1940) describing the Apache and Pueblo Indians says dogs might hold deer by the ear or hind foot until the hunter could catch up. There might be dogs with a group or just with a single hunter.

4Loendorf-Kuehn dogs in deer herd 2.png

A rock art panel from the Piñon Canyon Maneuver Site in Colorado may show deer being driven into hunting nets (Loendorf & Kuehn 1991; Loendorf 2008, noting at 133 that the dogs “appear to be part of the chase or hunt”).

Steward (1943) was told by the Shoshone that antelope were ordinarily too fast for dogs. Nevertheless, Gifford (1940), writing on the Apache and Pueblo Indians, records using dogs in an antelope drive. Brian Duggan (2011) notes that George Armstrong Custer claimed that his deerhound Tuck could catch an antelope, but Custer's claims are not always to be believed. John P. St. John, once governor of Kansas, is quoted by Inman (1970) as saying, "I have arrived at the conclusion that it takes a mighty good greyhound to catch a mighty poor antelope."

Mountain Goats

Drucker (1950) reports that hunting mountain goats required group action:

“The hunting was done by a party with their dogs; a single hunter had little chance to approach the wary mountain goat. Usually some men were stationed by narrow defiles or blind alleys into which the quarry would be driven within spear range; the rest of the party tried to get above the goats to drive them down. This could be done, naturally, only when the goats were feeding on the lower slopes of the mountains. In winter the animals often come down close to the salt water…. When full of feed, the goats foundered when pursued by the dogs and gave out in a relatively short time.”

Drucker (1950) writes that training such dogs meant “the performing of magic rites over the dogs, rather than schooling them…. The right forefoot of a kid was warmed over the fire, then pressed against the pup's feet, once a day for four successive days. Then the hoof was taken to the mountain to be secreted in a crevice. The owner fasted during the rite. When the pup grew up, he would run as surefootedly over the rocks as the mountain goats themselves, and easily turn them downhill.”

Olson (1955) describes a hunter of the Bella Bella Kwakiutl whose “dog would chase the goats to crevasses which they could not jump and there Kasana speared them.”

Mountain Sheep

Mountain sheep were said to be impossible to drive down, only up, so hunters were stationed above them and dogs drove them up (Drucker 1950). Steward (1943, also 1941) notes, with regard to the Shoshone, that mountain sheep were difficult to surround or drive without dogs. “Most often, a man hunted alone with about five dogs which drove sheep up cliffs and distracted them while he shot them with the bow….” Steward (1941) says that dogs, directed by hunters’ motions, drove sheep over cliffs. Remote commands of this sort would involve significant training. For a recent account of the sheep-eater Indians of Yellowstone, see Loendorf and Stone (2006). Garfinkel (2006) includes rock art depictions of dogs driving sheep in the Coso Range of Eastern California.

Bears

Drucker (1950) says that in the Northwest dogs could find the dens of hibernating bears. Schwartz (1997, p. 36) includes a picture of a dog helping his master kill a bear in a Haida carving from 1890. For a description of the Tahltan bear dog in British Columbia, see La Flamme (1996).

Birds

Gifford (1940) says that dogs could tree turkeys and quail for the Apache and Pueblo Indians.

Small Game

Foster (1944) writes that the Yuki of the Mendocino area hunted raccoons with dogs. The dogs treed the quarry until the hunters caught up. There was only one type of dog in the tribe, “small, like a fox terrier.” The dogs of the Yuki were buried when they died.

Dogs were also used in hunting peccaries (Gifford 1940), squirrels, and ground hogs. Gayton (1948) records the Yokuts capturing tree squirrels with trained dogs. He also states:

“A few Indians had dogs trained to hunt foxes. These followed the fox whenever they smelled one, and treed it. The master followed with his bow and arrow and shot the beast as it watched the dogs below. The dogs jumped the fox the instant it fell but were immediately beaten off, otherwise the skin would have been torn and the meat bruised. Wildcats were got by the same method. For fox and wildcat but one or two dogs were used at a time.

“A small breed of dog, about twelve inches high, was used for hunting rabbits. They were trained to track rabbits to burrows or rock shelters. The owner had a slender stick, three or four feet long, which he ran into the hole until he felt the hiding animal. Then he poked and twisted the stick in its fur, pulling it out. It was killed with a blow on the head.”

5Anell rabbit hunts 3..png

The second map from Anell shows rabbit and deer hunts using nets in the western U.S., with the following symbols: longnets for rabbits - filled in circles; deer nets - circle with dark circle inside; drives toward pitfalls-lower half of circle solid.

Garth (1953) reports that wildcats were hunted by the Atsugewi, who lived near Mount Shasta, using dogs, as were ground squirrels and wood rats. Gayton says dogs also chased gray squirrels, but the hunters had to take them away from the dogs before they were damaged.

Kroeber considers the possibility that Apache, Navaho, and Pueblo Indians may have picked up the habit of hunting with dogs from the Spanish. He bases this on the fact that groups around them did not hunt with dogs. (Kroeber 1941)

Training Dogs

Kroeber states the following regarding the training of hunting dogs:

“Training of hunting dogs is mentioned rather regularly north of the Columbia. The specific practices cited include: wild onion in eyes; trained on deer viscera and urine; nose rubbed on meat which is (then) set out for the crows; nose cut, concoction put in; head painted; sung to; heated deer hoofs rubbed on nose; rolled in fresh bear or beaver skin; mountain goat's forefoot warmed and pressed against pup's feet on four successive days. Obviously the training is sometimes practical, often merely magical. No single practice has a wide distribution, but one or more of them occur among most tribes in the north. South of the Columbia they are scarcely mentioned. I do not think this is due to lack of interest on the part of the southern list collectors. Rather did the northern informants volunteer items on training because their cultures were interested in the training of dogs.” (Kroeber 1941)

Barnett (1939) writes of the Gulf of Georgia Salish that dogs were sung to in order to train them.

Ray (1942) includes among cultural elements of some tribes of British Columbia and the northwest United States that dogs were trained by having heated deer hoofs rubbed on their noses. Hoofs were also used to make dog collars. He also records that some tribes gave dogs scent before hunting.

Gifford (1940), listing culture elements of the Apache-Pueblo, notes that women might nurse dogs, but he also states that the “possibilities of the dog as an ally in hunting were largely neglected.” Dogs were trained by putting a foot of game—deer, turkey, rabbit—over the dog’s nose. Some dogs were trained to hold a rabbit with paws until the hunter caught up. Some would seize and shake a rabbit or squirrel.

The second map from Anell shows rabbit and deer hunts using nets in the western U.S., with the following symbols: longnets for rabbits - filled in circles; deer nets - circle with dark circle inside; drives toward pitfalls-lower half of circle solid.

Garth (1953) reports that wildcats were hunted by the Atsugewi, who lived near Mount Shasta, using dogs, as were ground squirrels and wood rats. Gayton says dogs also chased gray squirrels, but the hunters had to take them away from the dogs before they were damaged.

Kroeber considers the possibility that Apache, Navaho, and Pueblo Indians may have picked up the habit of hunting with dogs from the Spanish. He bases this on the fact that groups around them did not hunt with dogs. (Kroeber 1941)

Training Dogs

Kroeber states the following regarding the training of hunting dogs:

“Training of hunting dogs is mentioned rather regularly north of the Columbia. The specific practices cited include: wild onion in eyes; trained on deer viscera and urine; nose rubbed on meat which is (then) set out for the crows; nose cut, concoction put in; head painted; sung to; heated deer hoofs rubbed on nose; rolled in fresh bear or beaver skin; mountain goat's forefoot warmed and pressed against pup's feet on four successive days. Obviously the training is sometimes practical, often merely magical. No single practice has a wide distribution, but one or more of them occur among most tribes in the north. South of the Columbia they are scarcely mentioned. I do not think this is due to lack of interest on the part of the southern list collectors. Rather did the northern informants volunteer items on training because their cultures were interested in the training of dogs.” (Kroeber 1941)

Barnett (1939) writes of the Gulf of Georgia Salish that dogs were sung to in order to train them.

Ray (1942) includes among cultural elements of some tribes of British Columbia and the northwest United States that dogs were trained by having heated deer hoofs rubbed on their noses. Hoofs were also used to make dog collars. He also records that some tribes gave dogs scent before hunting.

Breeds or Types of Dogs

Gifford (1940), listing culture elements of the Apache-Pueblo, notes that women might nurse dogs, but he also states that the “possibilities of the dog as an ally in hunting were largely neglected.” Dogs were trained by putting a foot of game—deer, turkey, rabbit—over the dog’s nose. Some dogs were trained to hold a rabbit with paws until the hunter caught up. Some would seize and shake a rabbit or squirrel.

6BC Mining Record McKay 2.jpg

Shimkin (1947) describes the Wind River Shoshone as having dogs “very much resembling the wolf.” (The origin of New World dogs has been debated. Compare Koop et al. (2000) with Leonard et al. (2002). Kim La Flamme (personal communication) argues that some residual pockets of Indian dogs did not interbreed with European dogs, and that these groups as yet remain untested for DNA comparisons).

Writing of the Yokuts, Gayton (1948) states:

“[H]unting dogs somewhat resembled coyotes: they had long tails, some had long, slightly woolly fur,‘coyote color, pretty near yellow.’ There were also black, white, and spotted dogs. Some had short fur. Some were as high as a man's knee: the rabbit dog was smaller than a fox dog. A hunter would possess both kinds. These pets were fed acorn soup, bones, feet of squirrels, rabbits, and the like, also entrails. They also were permitted to hunt for themselves and ate whatever they caught.”

Garth (1953) writes of the Atsugewi of the Mount Shasta area:

“[H]unting.-Dogs (ohema) were used only for hunting; they were not eaten. They looked much like coyotes except for their short hair, being small and having sharp pointed ears like a coyote. [One source] stated that there might be only one or two dogs in an entire village and that, when someone wanted to go hunting, he would borrow a dog from its owner. [Another source] was of another opinion, however, saying that every family had two or three dogs. He said that dogs were useful in hunting ground hogs and added that they could chase a wounded deer and bring it down by jumping and seizing its ear. One Apwaruge dog was named watswam-ir (hunter in the flat). Atsuge dogs were also named. In winter, dogs commonly slept on the sweathouse roof where it was comparatively warm.” A dog named for its ability to hunt in the flat would presumably be receiving recognition for its speed. (See also Gifford (1940) for pursuing wounded deer with dogs.)

Nomland (1938) records a story related by Indians in northern California:

“There was another place near Morrison's ranch, on Bear river, where Indian dogs are said to have come out of a deep pool and stood on the bank. These dogs looked like coyotes and they always stood facing the sun. After the whites came they were supposed to have been such a disturbing influence that all the Indian dogs died.”

Guarding

Sources regarding West Coast Indians seldom mention their use in protection, though Verne F. Ray (1942) does so in listing the cultural elements of the Lillooet and Lower Thompson of Canada. Teit (1900), however, states that the dogs of the Thompson Indians were “rather poor watch-dogs, but good hunters.”

Gifford (1940), writing of the Apache and Pueblo Indians, records the following incident:

“5 Comanche attacked isolated hut of Kahoane Mescalero near present site of agency. Family had several vicious dogs and because of that protection lived somewhat apart. Dogs badly bit some of Comanche, aiding family to drive them away.” He also reports that dogs would be killed in battles.

Naming Dogs


Giving names to dogs was common, though it is not clear whether all dogs were named and in some areas, such as Nevada, dog naming was not characteristic. Kroeber (1941) notes that in this area dogs “were of little importance for hunting, food, transport, wool, ritual, or anything else.”

Foster (1944), writing of the Yuki, says: “Names recorded were: lut (no translation), poti (roan colored), hulk’ol (coyote), and nuni (no translation; frequently used for bitches).”

Voegelin (1942) records that dogs might be named after the owner’s totem and could have separate dog houses that were conical and thatched.

Gifford (1940), writing of the Apache and Pueblo Indians, says that dogs might be given names of their colors, or named for peculiarities, such as a black nose, a spotted coat. They might be named for other animals. One was name ba ‘sichine, “dog eating too much.” Humor about dogs is often universal.

Housing

Kroeber, referring to survey data, states:

“Some of the lists omit dog shelters as trivial. Others specify kenneling in a hole in the bank, brush shelters, little domes of willow brush or lean-tos of bark, and the like. The distribution of these several types of shelter usually varies locally within any one list; and it is likely that nowhere was any one form of dog-hut standard or constructed for all dogs in the tribe, only proved hunting dogs or special pets being favored. The situation nowhere was like that of the Eskimo, to many of whom the preservation of their dogs is a matter of extreme importance, sometimes even of survival.”

Dogs were routinely allowed to sleep in living homes in northwest California, where houses had an anteroom where firewood was kept dry and dogs were allowed to find shelter. (Kroeber 1941; Essene 1942; drawing of Shoshone dwelling from Steward 1943)

7Shoshone hut.jpg

Feeding

Driver (1939) records that in northwest California, a deer’s nose would be cut off and fed to the dogs so that deer would not be able to smell dogs. He also records that dogs were fed mussel worms to make them mean and flies to increase their olfactory powers because flies could smell fish at a great distance. “When dog lies with head on paws, it is said he is ‘putting his plate down.’” Teit (1900) records a saying of British Columbia Indians that if a dog lies down, and places his lower jaw on both front paws, it is a sign that a visitor bearing a pack of food or presents will come.”

Teit (1900), writing of the Thompson Indians of British Columbia, says that sometimes shamans were called upon to treat horses and dogs, though only valuable or favorite ones. “They proceeded in the same manner as when treating people.”

Transport

Use of dogs in transport was found on the west side of the Rockies (with packs) and in British Columbia with packs and sleds. Ray (1942) in listing cultural elements of British Columbia tribes finds no tribes where dogs both pulled the travois and pulled sledges. The travois was found near the Columbia River, but the horse was preferred and dogs were only used by poor people. (Kroeber 1941)

Stewart (1942) records of the Southern Paiute that shamans formerly “had dogs, which were really wolves, upon which they packed medicine bundles while traveling. When shaman got to new camp and took off medicine bundle, he sent dog (wolf) away until he needed him again.” Diveena Seshetta (personal communication) notes a tradition in her ancestral area (Miwoks and Yokuts of the Sierras in California) that dogs were used to find herbs.

Wool

8Paul Kane Salish woman weaving 1848.jpg

The Coast Salish used dog wool for textiles. Kroeber noted that mountain-goat wool was used more widely, and dog wool was “probably a substitute or supplement.” (Kroeber 1941) Paul Kane painted a wool dog on Vancouver Island in the 1840s. Schwartz (1997) provides detail:

“A woman’s wealth was counted in the number of dogs she owned. These special dogs, with either thick white woolly hair or a long brownish-black coat, were sheared twice a year and kept on islands to prevent interbreeding with hunting dogs. Each day women would paddle out to the dogs’ islands with food and water. To produce the blankets, women combined sheared dog hair with mountain goat wool, adding goose down and the fluff of the fireweed plant, and then rubbed the fibers with white clay. Though most blankets were off-white, Salish nobles’ blankets were patterned and colored.”

9Salish blanket.jpg

Howay (1918) describes the history of European encounters with the Salish and their curiosity about the blankets. A guide to the Provincial Museum published in 1909 states that blankets “of dog’s hair and goat’s wool were made in large numbers, as noticed by Simon Fraser.” The guide included the picture of such a blanket reproduced here. The guide states that some blankets were “ornamented with designs in yellow and black, closely imitating the various arrow patterns, seen in the head-bands.”

Schwartz writes that these type of dog had disappeared by the middle of the nineteenth century. Pferd (1987) states that when "the Hudson Bay Company began selling blankets to the Indians, the need for dog wool ended. The native weaving industry ceased, along with he selective breeding and herding" of wool dogs.

Dog Beaten at Eclipses, Thunder

Drucker (1937) lists beating dogs at eclipses for tribes in southern California. Gayton, writing of Central California tribes, records:

“When there was a big rain and one wanted to stop it, one would strike a dog. The cries of this animal would be heard by a celestial dog who caused thunder and controlled [?] the weather.”

And in more detail:

“The big dog, whose name is Ya’olʻč, makes the most noise. ‘He can hit anything and smash it down. He is mean. He makes all the big rains.’ When he hears the cries of a dog on earth, who is being beaten because of the rain, he makes the rain cease.” (Gayton 1948; see also Gayton and Newman (1940))

At another point, Gayton mentions that after being whipped the dog would be turned loose and thunder would stop.

Kroeber notes that field records are highly inconsistent as to this practice, so that “it seems a fair inference that this conflict of opinion means that tribal custom in the area is also conflicting, dubious, ambivalent, or half-hearted. In other words the culture trait is widely spread but not crystallized culturally; it is perhaps only half believed in, or not taken very seriously.” (Kroeber 1941)

Dog-Eating Dance Societies

Drucker (1950) investigates a large number of British Columbia groups that had dog-eating dance ceremonies. He states that dancers were “inspired by spirits which caused members to seize and devour live dogs.” A new member fasts in the woods until captured, when “he is attired in a bearskin robe, a head ring with pendant dog skulls, and a neck ring. His face is painted black. His attendants sing as they return from the woods, to make him dance. He dances back and forth on the beach before the village, now and then becoming frenzied at the sight of a dog, which he catches and eats.” Drucker describes a number of variations to this pattern.

Olson (1940) records that members of the dog-eating society of the Haisla of British Columbia wore a headdress, the number of skulls in which reflected how many dogs the wearer had eaten.

Ray (1942) reports that members of the Crazy Dog Society of the Kutenai Indians of British Columbia and the northwestern U.S. had to possess dogs as guardian spirits.

Ghost Dance

Cora duBois (1939), in describing the 1870 Ghost Dance says that dogs were sometimes killed, even that “everyone killed his dog because the dead don’t like dogs and would turn to a stone or tree if they saw dogs. They tied stones around their necks and threw them in the river.” Gayton (1948) mentions that when the Ghost Dance of 1870 came to the Tulare Lake area, dogs were killed on one occasion because their barking scared away the ghosts.

Although not relating to the West Coast, Mooney (1896), in his account of the Ghost Dance of 1890 and the Sioux Outbreak, mentions that, during a dance, dogs were "driven off from the neighborhood of the circle lest they should run against any of those who have fallen into a trance and thus awaken them." Mooney also relates an account that a prophet of the Shawueese had said that "you must not suffer a dog to live," to which a member of the Ojibwa replied that "our dogs were useful in aiding us to hunt and take animals, so that I could not believe the Great Spirit had any wish to take them from us." Still, apparently many Ojibwa killed their dogs while under the influence of this prophet.

Conversing with Dogs

Kroeber relates the following:

“Many years ago, Goddard and I were told by the Hupa and Yurok that they discouraged unnecessary speech to dogs, say of the nature of a conversation, because the dog might answer, and this would be an omen of death or catastrophe.” The Absentee Shawnee believed that “eventually you can teach a dog to speak; they sometimes do; but the moment a dog speaks, it dies.” The Papago believed that if a dog talked, the one speaking to it would turn to stone. (Kroeber 1941)

Nomland, writing of Indians in northern California records the following:

“All animals were thought to have been human at one time and to have had the power of speech. Black bear and dog are supposed to be the only ones who have retained that ability, but they now rarely speak to people, and when they do, it means disaster and death to the person.”

Other Superstitions

Harrington (1942) records that for the central California coast, a dog howling near a house was a bad omen. Gayton (1948) writes a belief of the Yokuts: “When a dog chokes on something and wheezes, someone in the family, probably the dog’s owner, is dying.” Voegelin (1942) records that the howling of dogs was a sign of war in northeast California.

Kroeber and Barrett (1960), writing about fishing among the Indians of northwestern California records that women and dogs must be kept away from a fishing place while a platform was being built or bad luck would ensue.

Sacrificed When Master Dies

Barnett (1939) writes of the Gulf of Georgia Salish that dogs could be killed at the owner’s death and buried with him. Pettit (1950) writing of the Quileute of La Push, Washington, says: “Dying men might ask to take a favorite dog with them, and if they did so, the dog was killed and ‘buried’ with the body.” Gifford (1955) reports that a Miwok man had three dogs that always accompanied him. They were sacrificed when he died.

Driver (1939) reported that in northwest California, a dog was sacrificed only when no relatives would take it. Barnett (1937) lists killing a dog when the master died as occurring on the Oregon coast. Steward (1941) records that among the Shoshone a son or brother would get a man’s dog on his death, along with his bow and arrows.

Burial

Burial like persons, sometimes with shell money, was found among some California tribes, though among many tribes “dogs were variously got rid of without formality or channeled procedure.” (Kroeber 1941)

Some tribes hung a dog to a tree on his owner’s death. Driver (1939) reports that in northwest California a dog’s soul was considered immortal. When buried, the dog’s nose broke the surface so that it could breathe.

Gifford (1940), writing of the Apache and Pueblo Indians, records one informant saying that good dogs were buried, but worthless dogs were thrown into bushes.

Dog Skins

Steward (1941) and Gifford (1955) note that quivers could be made of dog skin. Gifford (1940), writing of the Apache and Pueblo Indians, says moccasins could be made of dog skin.

Friction with Settlers

Pettit (1950), writing of the Quileute of La Push, tells the following story:

“One other case of stealing was in reality a form of retribution. The inciting incident was the shooting of an Indian boy's dog. Early in the 1900's La Push was infested with dogs. Mr. Smith had a considerable flock of sheep. The dogs developed the habit of chasing and killing them. Smith warned the Indians, but nothing was done to end the depredations. One day, on starting to round up his flock, Mr. Smith found that twenty-four sheep had been killed. Thereupon he took up his gun, went through the village, and shot every dog he saw. One of the dogs belonged to a son of one of the more important families. The dog died on the front porch of the house with the boy looking on. He swore that his dog had never killed any sheep. Later the Smith house was broken into and a number of minor items were taken, including the shells for his gun, a brass compass, etc. Years later, when the boy was about thirty-years old and on the point of death from tuberculosis, he came to Mr. Smith, confessed the crime, and told him it was to make him suffer for killing the dog.”

10Salish men with dog blankets.jpg

The final plate shows Salish men wearing blankets made in part from wool dog hair.

Conclusion

As an undergraduate at Berkeley in the 1960s I lived south of the campus and entered on a path that took me past Kroeber Hall. For some moments many mornings as I passed the building named after Alfred Kroeber, I would wonder what fortunes would await were I to major in anthropology. The only class I ever took in the building was Phyllis Jay’s famous course in primate anthropology. Dr. Jay’s (later Dolhinow) lectures almost persuaded me to switch majors. Perhaps reading the Anthropological Records was a way of reliving that once almost possible dream.

When Europeans discovered the New World, they encountered a great many dog cultures. Indigenous groups of almost every region had different types of dogs and different uses for dogs. Unfortunately, many of these types were rare by the time of the explorers and extinct when anthropologists began to describe native American cultures. Many of the descriptions of dogs in the western United States say that the dogs of some tribes looked like coyotes, either completely or in coloration or skull structure. It may be assumed that there was interbreeding, but how much for some areas will likely never be known unless pelts can be found. Although the wool dogs of the Salish may have been separated for breeding purposes, many tribes had two or more types of dogs, distinguished by size and other traits, yet no rigid separation was mentioned and would have generally been impossible.

One of the biggest gaps in the anthropological records concerns how dogs were trained. Although prey smells are documented, this would not explain how dogs were able to help in tracking and driving game in some of the ways described, particularly considering that untrained dogs could be of greater hindrance than use. Perhaps some of these skills were not culturally determined for the individuals hunting with dogs, or perhaps the evidence was just never recorded. Unfortunately, some of the anthropologists making the records did not appreciate the importance of the dog cultures to the groups described, and Kroeber (1941) goes so far to complain that some of the investigations were "defective" on dogs in that those gathering the information "did not specifically inquire whether the animal was kept at all, whether it was bred or obtained from outside, whether it was housed or otherwise cared for." It has long been my opinion that only "dog people" recognize the importance of dogs in our society, or any society, and some of the gaps may reflect that not all the Berkeley anthropologists were dog people. In any case, it is appears likely that some of the mysteries about dogs before the arrival of the Europeans will never be resolved.

Sources:
  • Anell, B. (1969). Running Down and Driving of Game in North America. Studia Ethnographica Upsaliensa XXX, Lund.
  • Barnett, H.G. (1937). Culture Element Distributions; VII: Oregon Coast. Berkeley Anthropological Records, 1(3).
  • Barnett, H.G. (1939). Culture Element Distributions; IX: Gulf of Georgia Salish. Berkeley Anthropological Records, 1(5).
  • Driver, H.E. (1939). Culture Element Distributions; X: Northwest California. Berkeley Anthropological Records, 1(6).
  • Drucker, P. (1937). Culture Element Distributions; V: Southern California. Berkeley Anthropological Records, 1(1).
  • Drucker, P. (1940). Kwakiutl Dancing Societies. Berkeley Anthropological Records, 2(6).
  • Drucker, P. (1941). Culture Element Distributions; XVII: Yuman-Piman. Berkeley Anthropoligical Records, 6(3).
  • Drucker, P. (1950). Culture Element Distributions; XXVI: Northwest Coats. Berkeley Anthropological Records, 9(3).
  • du Bois, C. (1939). The 1870 Ghost Dance. Berkeley Anthropological Records, 3(1).
  • Duggan, B.P. (2011). Custer and His Hounds. Sighthound Review (August 2011).
  • Essene, F. (1942). Culture Element Distributions; XXI: Round Valley. Berkeley Anthropological Records, 8(1).
  • Foster, G.M. (1944). A Summary of Yuki Culture. Berkeley Anthropological Records, 5(3).
  • Garfinkel, A.P. (2006). Paradigm Shifs, Rock Art Studies, and the "Coso Sheep Cult" of Eastern California. North American Archeologist, 27(3), 203-244.
  • Garth, T.H. (1953). Atsugewi Ethnogaphy. Berkeley Anthropological Records, 14(2).
  • Gayton, A.H. (1948). Yokuts and Western Mono Ethnography; II: Northern Foothill Yokuts and Western Mono. Berkeley Anthropological Records, 10f(1) and (2).
  • Gayton, A.H., and Newman, S.S. (1940). Yokuts and Western Mono Myths. Berkeley Anthropological Records, 5(1).
  • Gifford, E.W. (1940). Culture Element Distributions; XII: Apache-Pueblo. Berkeley Anthropological Records, 4(1).
  • Gifford, E.W. (1955). Central Miwok Ceremonies. Berkeley Anthropological Records, 14(4).
  • Government of the Province of British Columbia (1909). Guide to the Anthropological Collection in the Provincial Museum. Richard Wolfenden Printers, Victoria, B.C.
  • Harrington, J.P. (1942). Culture Element Distributions; XIX: Central California Coast. Berkeley Anthropological Records, 7(1).
  • Heizer, R.F. (1949). The Archaeology of Central California; I: The Early Horizon. Berkeley Anthropological Records, 12(1) (noting dogs were likely present in California anciently, but then became extinct until reintroduced).
  • Heizer, R.F. (1953). The Archaeology of the Napa Region. Berkeley Anthropological Records, 12(6).
  • Heizer, R.F. (1956). Archaeology of the Uyak Site, Kodiak Island, Alaska. Berkeley Anthropological Records, 17(1) (discussing two types of dogs from bones on Kodiak Island).
  • Holt, C. (1946). Shasta Ethnography. Berkeley Anthropological Records, 3(4).
  • Howay, F.W. (April 1918). The Dog’s Hair Blankets of the Coast Salish. The Washington Historical Quarterly, 9(2), 83.
  • Inman, H. (1970). Buffalo Jones' Adventures on the Plains. University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln.
  • Koop, B.F., Burbidge, M., Byun, A., Rink, U., and Crockford, S.J. (2000). Ancient DNA Evidence of a Separate Origin for North American Indigenous Dogs.In Crockford, S.J. (ed.). Dogs Through Time: An Archaeological Perspective. BAR International Series 889.
  • Kroeber, A.L. (1941). Culture Element Distributions: XV; Salt, Dogs, Tobacco. Berkeley Anthropological Records, 6(1).
  • Kroeber, A.L., and Barrett, S.A. (1960). Fishing Among the Indians of Northwestern California. Berkeley Anthropoligical Records, 21(1).
  • La Flamme, K. (1996, revised 2004). The Complete "Tail" of the Tahltan Bear Dog. Project Restoration.
  • Leonard, J.A., Wayne, R.K., Wheeler, J., Valadez, R., Guillen, S., and Vila, C. (2002). Ancient DNA Evidence for Old World Origin of New World Dogs. Science, 298, 1613-6.
  • Loendorf, L.L. (2008). Thunder and Herds: Rock Art of the High Plains. Left Coast Press, Walnut Creek, California.
  • Loendorf, L.L., and Kuehn, D.D. (1991). 1989 Rock Art Research: Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site, Southeastern Colorado. The National Park Service, Rocky Mountain Regional Office, Denver, Colorado.
  • Loendorf, L.L., and Stone, N.M. (2006). Mountain Spirit: The Sheep Eater Indians of Yellowstone. University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City.
  • McKay, J.W. (1899). The Indians of British Columbia. The British Columbia Mining Record, 71.
  • Mooney, J. (1896). The Ghost Dance Religion and the Sioux Outbreak of 1890. Extract from the 14th Annual Report of the Bureau of Ethnology, Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C.
  • Murphy, R.F., and Murphy, Y. (1960). Shshone-Bannock Subsistence and Society. Berkeley Anthropological Records, 16(7) (quoting Osborne Russell, who in 1835 saw a group of Snake Indians in Yellowstone Park who had “about thirty dogs on which they carried their skins, clothing, provisions, etc., on their hunting excursions.”).
  • Murray, A., Alden, H., Gluick, T., Heald, S., Chang, L., and Jones, M. (2005).
  • Investigating the Presence of Dog Hair in Coast Salish Blankets. Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian. Poster Presentation. North American Textile Conservation Conference.
  • Nomland, G.A. (1938). Bear River Ethnography. Berkeley Anthropological Records, 2(2).
  • Olson, R.L. (1940). The Social Organization of the Haisla of British Columbia. Berkeley Anthropological Records, 2(5).
  • Olson, R.L. (1954). Social Life of the Owikeno Kwakiutl. Berkeley Anthropological Records, 14(3) (includes story of how woman who tried to give birth secretly was shamed by mention of dogs fighting over afterbirth she tried to hide).
  • Olson, R.L. (1955). Notes on the Bella Bella Kwakiutl. Berkeley Anthropological Records, 14(5).
  • Pettit, G.A. (1950). The Quileute of La Push, 1775-1945. Berkeley Anthropological Records, 14(1).
  • Pferd, W. (1987). Dogs of the American Indians. Denlinger's Publishers, Ltd., Fairfax, Virginia.
  • Ray, V.F. (1942). Culture Element Distributions; XXII: Plateau. Berkeley Anthropological Records, 8(2).
  • Schwarz, M. (1997). A History of Dogs in the Early Americas. Yale University Press, New Haven.
  • Shimkin, D.B. (1947). Wind River Shoshone Ethnography. Berkeley Anthropological Records, 5(4).
  • Steward, J.H. (1941). Culture Element Distributions; XIII: Nevada Shoshone. Berkeley Anthropological Records, 4(2).
  • Steward, J.H. (1943). Culture Element Distributions; XXIII: Northern and Gosiute Shoshoni. Berkeley Anthropological Records, 8(3).
  • Stewart, O.C. (1941). Culture Element Distributions; XIV: Northern Paiute. Berkeley Anthropological Records, 4(3).
  • Stewart, O.C. (1942). Culture Element Distributions; XVIII: Ute-Southern Paiute. Berkeley Anthropological Records, 6(4).
  • Teit, J.A. (1900). The Thompson Indians of British Columbia. Memoirs of the American Museum of Natural History, II.
  • Teit, J.A. (1930). The Salishan Tirbes of the Western Plateaus. Bureau of American Ethnology 47th Annual Report. Smithsonian Institution.
  • Voegelin, E.W. (1942). Culture Element Distributions; XX: Northeast California. Berkeley Anthropological Records, 7(2).
Thanks to Betty Murphy of the Heard Museum Library for helping me find numerous sources in the wonderful collection of that Museum. Thanks to Kim La Flamme, Brian Duggan, Richard Hawkins, Eric Krieger, and Yva Momatiuk for recommending sources.
Posted by John Ensminger at 9:29 AM


You can read more from John Ensminger at Dog Law Reporter: Reflections on the Society of Dogs and Men.
One could argue that evolution suggests were not idiots, but I would say, Well, no. Evolution just makes sure were not blithering idiots."

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#2 Allison

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Posted 21 May 2012 - 08:33 AM

He had said to click twice on photos, but that does not work for us, so I have edited that. One click will bring up pictures.
One could argue that evolution suggests were not idiots, but I would say, Well, no. Evolution just makes sure were not blithering idiots."

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#3 Karen

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Posted 21 May 2012 - 10:12 AM

I just submitted this to Stumbleupon. People are going to eat this up.
I do beautiful, wild, unique abstract photography.
www.karenhyams.com
And here's my dog Danza
custom_dog_nema2_small.jpg

#4 Allison

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Posted 21 May 2012 - 10:56 AM

Cool! Thanks Karen!
One could argue that evolution suggests were not idiots, but I would say, Well, no. Evolution just makes sure were not blithering idiots."

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#5 Gib

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Posted 21 May 2012 - 03:21 PM

Loved this.....

Thank for posting it Allison. Any other gems?

And.... thanks, Kim.

For Now,

Gib Curry

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"Things work out best for those who make the best out of the way things work out."

#6 woodrat

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Posted 21 May 2012 - 06:02 PM

This is way too cool. I'm always trying to find good historical information on the AI dogs of old, and that's proven very difficult to do on the Internets. This was a very welcome read.

I laughed at the part where they were referred to as 'poor guard dogs, but good hunters'. You can say that again, lol!

#7 Karen

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Posted 21 May 2012 - 06:52 PM

Danza is a great guard dog. She doesn't look very intimidating, but she can sound the alert along with the best of them. Usually that's all it takes - a barking dog will scare away most intruders.
I do beautiful, wild, unique abstract photography.
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