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The Calloway Affair of 1880: Chemehuevi Adaptation and Chemehuevi-Mohave Relations

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eScholarship - University of California
Keywords
  • Indians Of North America -- California -- Periodicals
  • Indians Of North America -- California -- History -- Periodicals
  • Anthropology -- Research -- California -- Periodicals
  • Ethnology
  • Archaeology
  • Ethnohistory
  • Native Peoples
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Abstract

On March 28, 1880, Chemehuevis in the Palo Verde Valley of the Colorado River killed a white engineer, Oliver P. Calloway, looted his camp, and threatened to kill every white man on the river. The stories of this event as told by both the Chemehuevi and Mohave tribes today, and the character of the event itself, contribute a great deal to understanding the long tradition of Chemehuevi-Mohave relations. The story has become something of a modern myth among the Chemehuevis and Mohaves. Though seemingly a Chemehuevi-white conflict, the story is told as one of a body of stories of conflicts between Chemehuevis and Mohaves which contributes to each tribe's definition of its ethnic identity and relationship to the other. The event and its outcomes indicate the contrasting adaptations of the two tribes twenty years after American assertion of control over the Colorado River area and how these differences in adaptation had changed the relationship between the two tribes.

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