Many of the native groups living in the vicinity of the Antelope Valley gathered
and processed wild plants together every year. This round-up or round, along
with the capacity to store such foods, determined how abundant a village’s
food supply would be during the course of the year.
Food supplies were shortest during late winter and spring. The stored winter
reserves were partly used up, and villagers awaited the plant harvests of spring
and early summer. The first major item to become available, usually in late
April, was the stalk of Yucca whipplei (Our Lord's Candle or Spanish Bayonet),
which was baked in earth ovens and could then be eaten immediately or dried
In May and the early summer months some small plants with edible roots or
leaves became available. Plants with hard seeds, such as chia and Indian rice
grass, became increasingly available as the summer unfolded. These were important
sources of nutrition. Carrizo grass sugar along streams and at springs also
became available by this time.
In August juniper berries (on the valley floor and foothills) and mesquite
beans (along low-lying flats and dry lake shores) were collected. In August
and September the piñon pine nut harvest got underway in the mountains,
followed by the acorn harvest in October and November. The acorn harvests were
usually carried out in foothill and upland areas. The storage of hard seeds,
piñon nuts, and especially acorns were essential to tide the community
over the winter.
The gathering teams of villagers returned to the winter village after the
acorn harvest, as the winter season of social and religious events and
the making and repairing of tools and equipment got underway. Hunting was
out throughout the year, in accordance with the changing locations and
habits of large and small game as the months went by. Hunting made the
relative contribution to village nutrition during the late winter and spring.
Antelope Valley Indian Peoples
Initial Settlers and the Subsequent Archaic
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