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A Mission Record of the California Indians, by A.L. Kroeber, [1908], at

San Gabriel26

In this mission four distinct idioms are spoken according to the four directions of its establishment. One is called Kokomcar, another Guiguitamcar, the third Corbonamga, and the last Sibanga. 27

p. 12

Notwithstanding that in general they are ignorant of their origin, there have not been wanting some who declared that they had knowledge that the first Indians populating this country came from the north, whence they were conducted to these lands by a great chief (capitan general), who they say still exists on an island, and they make him be without beginning or end. This one distributed to each tribe its territory. 28


When a celebrated captain dies, they summon the nearest villages, even if they are remote, and make a great festival, which consists of dancing and eating. They either bury the body, or burn it and bury its ashes. The dance and feast continue for a space of three days, after which the deceased remains in eternal oblivion. 29


They are not acquainted with any other musical instrument than a whistle made from the bone of the foreleg of a deer, and a wooden fife (pifano). 30


11:26 The Indians of Mission San Gabriel were closely related in dialect to those of San Fernando. The two constituted a dialectic group which has been called the Gabrielino, and which is distinct from the other Shoshonean linguistic groups of Southern California. As will be seen, there were however other Indians at San Gabriel besides the true Gabrielino. The fathers in charge of this mission in 1811 were Jose de Miguel and Jose Maria Zalvidea.

11:27 The four dialects spoken by the Indians assembled at this mission can be partially identified. Sibanga is the name of the site of San Gabriel itself. It is a local, not a tribal appellation, as is shown by the locative ending -nga. Hugo Reid in his account of the Indians of Los Angeles county, printed in the Los Angeles Star in 1852 and reprinted by Alexander Taylor in the California Farmer, gives Sibagna as the native name of San Gabriel. Guiguitamcar, or Guiquitamcar, is a good Spanish spelling of Gikidan-um, with the suffix -car substituted for the plural ending -um. Gikidanum is a variant obtained by the author for Gitanemuk, the name of the Shoshoneans on upper Tejon creek, at the southernmost end of the San Joaquin valley. These Indians speak a Serrano dialect. Their neighbors south of the Tehachapi range, that is towards San Gabriel, are also Serrano. A vocabulary of this dialect has been given in Volume IV of the present series of publications. The Kokomcar are unknown. The ending which this name shares with Guiguitamcar makes it seem that these people were also Serrano. Corbonamga is also unidentified. The ending may be the Gabrielino locative -nga. There is a possibility that either this term or the last is a copyist's misread spelling of the name Cucamonga.

12:28 The great "capitan general" is no doubt the Gabrielino equivalent of the Juaneño and Luiseño deity Ouiot or Wiyot, who according to tradition led the people from the north and divided them into tribes.

12:29 It is probable that cremation was the usual practice in pre-mission times. That the dead should be forgotten and their names never mentioned, is a universal custom of the California Indians. The accounts below from San Fernando and San Carlos give different explanations of the motive for the practice.

12:30 The bone whistle is of the kind which may still occasionally be found in ceremonial use among the modern Indians of California. Many have been unearthed in archaeological explorations in Southern California. The "wooden fife" is no doubt the open-ended flute made by all the Indians of California, and more accurately described in the accounts from other missions below.

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