PART FOUR
Big Head Cult

In part 2, which dealt with the Oregon material, informants stated that Bogus Tom and particularly Frank had promised them that a Big Head dance would be brought to them. In part 3, the section on Round Val- ley Reservation contained indications that a Big Head cult had passed through the area. In the following pages these strands and additional material will be drawn together into a description of a somewhat aber- rant modern cult that seems to have been linked definitely to other reli- gious developments in northern California, although its manifestations were quite distinct.

Diagnostic of this cult1 was the sale of particular regalia from the Pomo northward. With the feathers went specific dances. In the following sec- tions the progression of the cult from south to north will be described under tribal headings. Figure 21 diagrams this northward progression.


Pomo Origin

There is some uncertainty as to the particular group of Pomo who gave the movement its northern impetus. The Kato say that it reached them from Willits (Northern Pomo) through Sherwood (Northern Pomo). Kroeber says:

The Ghost dance of 1872 came to the Huchnom "Redwood Valley
Yuki" from the central Pomo of the coast, who in turn had it from the
eastern Pomo. From Round Valley and vicinity it was carried north,
according to modern survivors, to the Hayfork Wintu and Hupa. The
latter statement is probably not to be taken in a literal geographical
sense, but it corroborates the inference, already derived from the exis-
tence of circular dance houses among the Whilkut, that this distinctly
northwestern group derived the type of structure through a north-
ward extension of the ghost dance.2

-271-

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The 1870 Ghost Dance
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Illustrations viii
  • Introduction to the Nebraska Edition ix
  • Preface xxv
  • Introduction 1
  • Part One: Nevada and the Klamath Drainage 5
  • Part Two: Western Oregon 57
  • Part Three: North-Central California 89
  • Part Four: Big Head Cult 271
  • Summary of Chronology 297
  • Summary of Contents 301
  • Conclusions and Speculations 313
  • Appendix ° Informants 323
  • Notes 335
  • Index 351
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