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The Madera Tribune

Constructing a Northern Valley Yokut’s house

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webmaster | 08/09/12

At the Fossil Discovery Center we are building a house that would have been used by the local Native American tribe, the Yokuts. We are making it as authentic as possible. This is the beginning of our Native American display. Please come by and see it in different stages of construction.

Before contact with Spanish, Mexican and American settlers, the Yokuts were the largest tribe in California both in population and territory. Yokuts is the name anthropologists gave them because each independent tribe spoke the same language with various dialects.

Two of the local tribes of Yokuts were the Chauchela (Chowchilla is named after them), and the Heuche, who lived along the Fresno River in Madera. The pre-contact population for the 50 to 60 different tribes that comprised the Yokuts has been estimated as high as 20,000.

Their territory was the entire San Joaquin Valley floor from Stockton in the north to the base of the Tehachapi Mountains in the south, and up into the Sierra foothills from the Fresno River southward. Their numbers were greatly reduced beginning with disease brought by the first Spanish explorers and later from Spanish and Mexican raids into the San Joaquin Valley to capture Yokuts to work in the missions...


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