The most characteristic Yokuts dwelling was the mat-covered communal house inhabited by 10 families or more. In addition, they erected flat roofs on poles for shade. Clothing was simple: men wore loincloths or went naked, and women wore fringed aprons front and back.
Their main food was acorns. The Yokuts also ate wild plants, roots, and berries. They hunted deer, rabbits, prairie dogs, and other small mammals and birds.
The Yokuts tribe of California are known to have engaged in trading with other California tribes of Native Americans in the United States including coastal peoples like, for example, the Chumash tribe of the Central California coast, and they are known to have traded plant and animal products.
|Native speakers||Unknown 20–25 fluent and semispeakers (Golla 2007)|
|Language family||Yok-Utian Yokuts|
|Dialects||Palewyami † Buena Vista † Tule–Kaweah Gashowu † Kings River † Valley Yokuts|
Yokuts in American English 1. a member of a group of small Native American tribes speaking related dialects and occupying the San Joaquin Valley of California and the adjoining eastern foothill regions. Nearly all the Valley Yokuts are extinct; some foothill groups remain.
The Yokuts believed in a variety of localized spirits, some of whom were potentially evil. Religious Practitioners. Part-time religious specialists, or shamans, with powers derived from visions or dreams cured the sick and conducted public rituals and celebrations.
The Yokuts burned wild seed plant areas to improve the following year’s crop. Trade Yokuts Indians traded widely with peoples of different habitats. Southern Valley people imported obsidian for arrowheads and sharp tools, stone mortars and pestles, wooden mortars, and marine shells for money and decoration.
Tule Grass, field grasses, sage and other bushes provided seeds that could be ground or eaten raw. Grass seeds were collected in the Fall using flat baskets, called seed beaters, which scooped the tops of grasses to strip off the seeds.
“Yo’-kuts Tule Lodges” from Contributions to North American Ethnology, Volume III.
There were 5,793 Yurok living throughout the United States. The Yurok Indian Reservation is California’s largest tribe, with 6357 members as of 2019.
Yokuts traditional narratives include myths, legends, tales, and oral histories preserved by the Yokuts people of the San Joaquin Valley and southern Sierra Nevada foothills of central California.
The Yokut used to set fire to the underbrush and then were able to collect great quantities of grasshoppers and caterpillars already roasted. However, they never killed rattlesnakes because they considered them sacred.
The hunting of waterfowl, such as geese and ducks, was also of major importance. The subsistence pattern of the Southern Valley Yokuts focused on lake and river fishing with nets, basket traps, and spears, hunting waterfowl from tule rafts, and gathering shellfish and tule roots.