The author, William Duncan Strong, worked closely with many of the most knowledgeable and respected Indian leaders of the societies which he studied, and their trust in him is reflected in this sensitive analysis and reconstruction of the native cultures of the Cahuilla, Luiseno, Serrano, Cupeno, and other Indian groups of the region. Some leaders shared memories of social, economic, political, and ceremonial life back to the 1850s, resulting in this classic work. The book is one of the richest sources of ethnographic material on social organization, philosophical and religious systems, ceremonial and ritual practices, oral literature and traditions, and the day-to-day lives of these hunting and gathering peoples. Several generations of anthropological researchers have drawn upon Strongs work as the most valuable and richly suggestive reference work on native cultures of the region, Lowell Bean writes in the introduction. Almost single-handedly, Strong brought an ethnographic perspective into sharp focus and posed problems which have been absorbed and will continue to absorb scholars for years. Originally published by the University of California Press in 1929, this work pioneered ethnographic procedures which are still being used and heavily influenced many ethnographers who came after Strong. Anthropologist Ralph Beals has called it the nearest thing to an accurate single account of aboriginal society in southern California we are likely to have. This new reprint contains an appreciation of Strong by his friend Beals and a review of the current status of Shoshonean studies in southern California by Lowell John Bean.