Book Reviews of Wintun Indians of Califorina.

1. "If being more neighborly is on your list of New Year's resolutions, reading The Wintun Indians of California and Their Neighbors, is an excellent start. The northern Wintu territory stretched from just south of Redding to the slopes of Mount Shasta. Among the neighbors were the Shasta, who occupied the mountainous Klamath River country upstream from the Karoks and downstream from the Klamath-Modoc with extensions into the headwaters of the Rogue River.

"According to author Peter Knudtson, the Shasta were known to the Wintu as Wai-yuki (north-enemy). However, they exchanged obsidian, pine nuts, and deerskins with the Wintu in return for acorns and other items. Primarily, the book is about the northern Wintu, one of four divisions of the Wintun. Knudtson follows the activities of the four seasons in one year of Wintu life. To best describe the culture of the hunter-gatherers, the author invents an imaginary village on the McCloud River. He says, 'This sketch of a Wintu microcosm, bound within the passage of a single solar year, rises naturally from a tribal account of its mythic beginnings. It disappears in the wake of an advancing white settlement during historic times.'

"Although the story flows smoothly, it cannot be described as easy reading. A knowledge of cultural anthropology is presupposed, particularly a familiarity with other California native American groups. However, presumption of prior knowledge is not carried to extremes. An excellent large map is included in a pocket inside the cover of the book. There are numerous line drawings of Wintu artifacts and photographs obtained from living members of the tribe and the Lowie Museum of Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley. Two of the most interesting sections of the book are the glossary and another section on Wintun use of plants.

"The Wintun lacked a written language, but Knudtson has used lists prepared by earlier anthropologists and talks with surviving members of the tribe to prepare a phonic vocabulary list that show geographic variations. The plant list is divided into sections on food, medicine, clothing, construction, household items, and weapons.

"Knudtson holds degrees in zoology from the University of California and in biology from Humboldt State University. It was while he was working as a naturalist for the U.S. Forest Service that he became friends with the Wintu." (Betty Miller, The Mail Tribune, Medford, Oregon, December 28, 1977)