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Contact-Period Native California Community Distribution Model



The Contact-Period Native California Community Distribution Model (CDM) reconstructs California Indian community ethnogeography at the time of Spanish settlement. The CDM package currently includes: (1) a GIS map layer portraying 663 independent landholding communities/year-round habitation regions; (2) a group of monographs documenting ethnogeographic information and sources for the regions; and (3) a mission register database tracking the vital statistics of individuals who moved to Franciscan missions from approximately 420 of the 663 native regions. The digital map and text are dynamic, designed to be used, updated, and revised by academic scholars, tribal scholars, government agency planners, and culture history interpreters.

Most of the CDM mapping regions—especially those across most of central California—represent the lands of true territorial sedentary village-communities or tribelets. Some other regions represent distinct clusters of loosely affiliated villages, sedentary in Northwest California but with extensive seasonal population shifts in areas east of the Sierra and in the dry inner Coast Ranges. Mapping regions in parts of southern California are merely arbitrary divisions applied for purposes of local vicinity analysis to portions of extensive open networks of small, inter-marrying village-groups. Confidence in the accuracy of the regions and their boundaries varies greatly due to differences in the richness of existing data and to differences in scholarly interpretations of those data.

The database, narratives, and regional boundaries are presented in a GIS application and Wiki format. This will allow future scholars to reconsider regional boundaries, to expand or annotate existing monographs, and to contribute new monographs for the currently unfinished areas.

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