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Handbook of the Kawaiisu, Includes Language DVD

The Handbook of the Kawaiisu, a new book by anthropologist Alan P. Garfinkel and Kawaiisu historian Harold Williams, includes a DVD with interview and traditional story by fluent Kawaiisu speaker Luther Girado.

A total of nine experts contributed to the book, which has chapters on the Kawaiisu language, territory and ethnography, ethnohistory, precontact lifeways, basketry, prehistory and rock art, and important Kawaiisu sites.

The book is illustrated with charts, graphics and photos; some of the photos, contributed by Kawaiisu families, date to the late 1800s/early 1900s. The authors used photo-enhancement technology to make rock art more visible. Pages 133-192 of this heavily documented book are devoted to resource listings, references and annotated bibliography.

“There has never been a book like this before,” contributor Jon Hammond writes in the foreword. “This volume is unique in several respects. Most noteworthy is that this is not only about the Kawaiisu, it is also by the Kawaiisu people themselves. It was prepared with the support of tribal members who generously shared their family photographs, memories, knowledge, and thoughts … The level of cooperation and collaboration in this project is unprecedented.”

Garfinkel, who has been studying Kawaiisu culture for three decades, and Williams, former chairman of the Kern Valley Indian Community, published the book as Wa-hi Sina’avi Publications. Visit