The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 43, July 1939 - April, 1940 Page: 413
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Maricopa, Walapai, Havasupai and Yavapai. The Kiliwa may
now be added to this list.
Meigs spent approximately six weeks in the field (1928, 1929,
and 1936) gathering information from the few Kiliwa who sur-
vive. A census which he made in 1929 showed that only thirty-
six Kiliwa were then living. Today the Kiliwa are largely Mex-
ican in culture, and it is only the oldest individuals who remem-
ber very much of the native life. When an ethnologist works
under these conditions, we should not expect too much. The con-
ventional procedure is to record the data obtained from the most
reliable informants and then reconstruct insofar as possible the
main outlines of the culture. The result is a static rather than
a dynamic picture and, to the uncritical, gives an erroneous
impression. Yet if we wish to get any grasp at all of a culture
which no longer functions and which is rapidly being forgotten,
this is the best approach. Meigs follows this procedure. His
material is presented in topical form and is supplemented by
figures and plates, the latter being numerous and uniformly
One wishes, however, that the author could have been more
explicit concerning the relation of the Kiliwa to the other
Yuman cultures. The inclusion of more comparative material
would have been helpful. For instance, the relationship between
the Kiliwa and their Dieguefio neighbors to the northwest are
made fairly clear, but little is said about the cultural affinities
with the well-known Cocopa immediately to the north. An index,
so essential to the general student in making comparative
studies, is not given. Furthermore, a closer scrutiny of the
early historical material might have yielded useful information.
Meigs states that the earliest reference to the Kiliwa by name
was made by Rojo in a manuscript account written in 1879.
He says nothing of the fact that in 1867 Gabb visited a group
of Kiliwa living near Santo Tomas Mission and obtained a vocab-
ulary which was published in Zeitschrift fiir Ethnologie in 1877.
This is mentioned in that standard reference work, the Handbook
of American Indians.
It is gratifying to know that a description of the Kiliwa cul-
ture is now in print. Meigs' invaluable report comes in the
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 43, July 1939 - April, 1940, periodical, 1940; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101111/m1/437/: accessed August 16, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.