Survival Skills of Native California
by Paul D. Campbell
Reviewed by Thomas J. Elpel
As an author I know what it is like to undertake a large-scale research and writing project. But even I am awed by the scale and scope of Paul Campbells incredible book Survival Skills of Native California. Through ethnographic studies, interviews of elder Indians and extensive replicative studies, Campbell has compiled the vast majority of the physical skills of survival used by California Indians, including fire-making, shelters, water collection & storage, travel, cordage, traps, digging sticks, acorns and other nuts, mortar and pestle, the soaproot brush, numerous basket types, pottery, key edible and useful plants, use of sugar and salt, seeds and seed beaters, netting, sanitation, wooden containers, clothing, rabbitskin blankets and elderberry bark shirts, yucca and rawhide sandals, moccasins, flutes, bow & arrow, atlatl and dart, knapping, glue, stalking, split-wood figures, rabbitsticks, slings, snowshoes, braintanning, insect harvesting and use, twined bags, war clubs, tule boats, fish traps and nets, harpoons and sea hunting, fish catching and preparation. Most of the skills covered include all the necessary how-to information to do it yourself. The book includes nearly 1,000 instructional illustrations.
Paul Campbell is uniquely qualified to write this book from a lifelong passion for learning, practicing and writing about primitive survival skills. The breadth and depth of his experience shows through every page of the book. 448 pages. 1999. Cost: $40.00.