Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Bob Bettinger on Repatriation to the Kumeyaay

This letter was found at: http://weber.ucsd.edu/~rfrank/class_web/UnivHouse/


Subject: Kumeyaay case Date: Wednesday, March 20, 2002 5:45 PM
From: Robert Bettinger (by way of Ellen Auriti )
Reply-To: "Robert Bettinger \(by way of Ellen Auriti \)"
To: Conversation: Kumeyaay case

To: Systemwide Repatriation Committee
From: Robert Bettinger, Professor of Anthropology, UCD
Re: Comment on REPORT ON KUMEYAAY CULTURAL AFFILIATION, Prepared by Diana Drake Wilson, PhD, Submitted by the UCLA NAGPRA Coordinating Committee, October 2001.

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the detailed report by Diana Wilson. To come to the point quickly, I disagree with her conclusion that the preponderance of evidence supports affiliation of the human skeletal remains and associated funerary objects from SDi-525 and SDi-603 with the Kumeyaay. Further, I disagree with the consensus of the scholars consulted in connection with the report to the effect that, “...neither continuity nor discontinuity could be conclusively established between earlier, Archaic groups with Late Prehistoric period, ethnohistorical, and present-day Kumeyaay” (p.2). The several lines of evidence available clearly indicate discontinuity between the Kumeyaay and the remains from SDi-525 and SDi-603. As Lightfoot and Hitchcock note in their comment on the report, the case for affiliation with Kumeyaay rests largely on oral tradition, the weight of which strongly suggests a Kumeyaay movement from a point of origin along the lower Colorado River westward to the California coast in times too recent to account for the remains from SDi-525 (7,500 - 5,500 BP) and SDi-603 (7340-3950 B.P.). This is wholly consistent with the linguistic evidence.

The geographical distribution of the various languages that constitute what is called Core Yuman, comprising Pai, River Yuman, and Delta Yuman (Kumeyaay belonging to the last; Table 1; Kendall 1983), fixes a common homeland on the lower Colorado River. This distribution and the close relationship between the constituent languages suggest a rapid expansion out of the Colorado River delta quite recently, certainly within the last 1000 years. That expansion is involved, rather than merely the freezing-in-place of formerly mobile groups, is attested by radial distribution of the Pai languages both northeast (Yavapai, Havasupai, Walapai) and southwest (Paipai) from the delta. Thus, in contrast to other Hokan languages which comprise either several relatively ancient divisions in a fairly small area (e.g. Pomo) or only a few divisions in a fairly small area (e.g., Chumash), Yuman displays a number of closely related, but widely spread, languages, suggesting a history of very recent movement possibly set in motion by the appearance of corn agriculture (Hale and Harris 1979). Alternatively, Shaul and Hill (1998) have argued that Yuman-speaking groups participated in the multi-ethnic cultural phenomenon known as the Hohokam, whose dissolution about A.D. 1400 may have played some part in the Yuman diaspora. This latter idea, at least the association of Yuman with agricultural developments in Arizona, is strongly supported by genetic evidence.

Malhi (2001) has demonstrated that among the Cocopa (who speak the Delta Yuman language most closely related to Kumeyaay) and Cochimi (who speak the language most closely related to Yuman; Table 1) individuals belonging to mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) haplogroup B share a very distinctive mutation at nucleotide pair 16261 with individuals of the Jemez Pueblo, New Mexico. That B is the most common mtDNA haplogroup in the Southwest, and that this mutation is rare in individuals of haplogroup B elsewhere, suggests it appeared in the Southwest at a time when groups ancestral to Yuman were juxtaposed with other groups connected with either the development or spread of corn agriculture in the Southwest. This genetic relationship is consistent with the idea that groups ancestral to Yuman participated in the Hohokam fluorescence along the Gila and Salt Rivers in Arizona moved west to the Colorado River following the Hohokam collapse, groups ancestral to Jemez moving at the same time east. The development of a distinctive and successful cultural complex on the lower Colorado subsequently resulted in the Yuman expansion out of the delta sometime in the last five hundred years. Whatever the details of the matter, the weight of evidence clearly places Yuman well east of the California coast at the time the materials in question from SDi-525 and SDi-603 were deposited.

It is well to point out here that the time separation within Yuman is clearly less than the time separation in Takic (southern California Uto-Aztecan). That is, Takic speakers have been in place longer over the whole of southern California than have Yuman speakers. It is well to point out, further, that the differences between these ethnically distinct Yuman and Takic groups would be very difficult to establish by comparing the technology commonly encountered archaeologically, even in very recent sites. For instance, DruckerÕs (1937) culture element distribution for Ipai (formerly Northern Diegueno) and neighboring Luiseno shows the two share more than 80% of their most important technology (Traits 336-515) indeed, they are essentially indistinguishable in this respect. It is precisely this sort of technology that provides the archaeological basis for defining variations within the Archaic of southern California, which is why adaptations and adaptive technology are often poor indicators of the sort of cultural connections upon which determinations of cultural affiliation hinge in NAGPRA. Burial practices are often much more informative in this respect. Here again, however, both the Ipai and Luiseno (along with every other southern California group), share the trait of cremating the dead (Drucker 1937:36). That none of the remains in question from SDi-525 and SDi-603 are cremations, then, very strongly suggests a fundamental cultural discontinuity between them and all the ethnographic groups in the region.

Separation 2-4000 years1-2000 years <1000 years500 years?
Core YumanMohave
River BranchQuechan
Maricopa Delta BranchDiegueno*
Cocopa *includes Ipai, Tipai, Kumeyaay

Table 1. Yuman and Related Languages

References Cited Drucker, P. 1937 Culture Element Distributions: V, Southern California. University of California Anthropological Records 1(1):1-52.

Hale, K. L. and D. Harris 1979 Historical Linguistics and Archaeology. In Southwest, edited by A. Ortiz, pp. 170-177. Handbook of North American Indians Vol. 9. Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.

Kendall, M. B. 1983 Yuman Languages. In Southwest, edited by A. Ortiz, pp. 4-12. Handbook of North American Indians Vol. 10. W. C. Sturtevant, general editor. Smithonian Insitution Press, Washington, D.C.

Malhi, R. S. 2001 Investigating Prehistoric Population Movements in North American Using Ancient and Modern mtDNA. Ph. D. Dissertation, University of California, Davis.

Shaul, D. L. and J. H. Hill 1998 Tepimans, Yumans, and other Hohokams. American Antiquity 63:375-396.

===================================== Ellen I've attached my comments on the UCLA affiliation report. If you have questions before you distribute to the committee at large, let me know. Bob

Robert L. Bettinger, Professor and Chair Department of Anthropology, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, Phone:530-752-0551(wk), 753-0248 (hm), FAX 530-752-8885 ================================