Primary Sources and Indigenous California

Primary sources of information are pieces of study that were created during the time of study. They may be documents or physical objects that have stored information or informational value that explains events and phenomena of the time under study (Hamilton 20). Moe often than not, primary sources are present during a time period or during an experience.

They offer critical inside view of events or experiences. Examples of primary sources include original documents like excerpts and translations. They may also include speeches, diary recordings, letters, manuscripts, films, footages and official records. Creative works like works of poetry and music can also make up primary sources of information.

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Additionally, artifacts and/or relics can be classified as primary sources of information (Hamilton 25). Real time examples of primary sources of information include the constitution of the US, weaving and pottery of ancient tribes and journal articles that have new and original research findings.

Secondary sources

When information in primary sources is analyzed and published it becomes a secondary source of information. They may have images quotes and other graphics stemming out of the evaluation (Hamilton 28). Secondary sources are primarily publications that include textbooks, magazines, and commentaries. Textbooks used in schools and colleges and magazines produced for entertainment and academic purposes are some examples of secondary sources (Klarer 5).

Major Problems in California History

The book is a compilation of documents and essays that seek to provide light on some of the most important events and controversies that characterize the history of California during the period dating back to the pre-contact period.

The book uses documents that can be classified as primary sources of information. This is because they provide the original information about the period under study. Though some of the documents were not originally from that period, the fact that they covered the period and they were later used as the prime sources of information qualifies them to be primary sources of information.

The documents have stored information that has made it easier for scholars to study the period covered in the history of California. There are artifacts also that comprise of primary sources of information.

The essays on the other hand are secondary sources of information. They were written through the help of the documents and other artifacts that were collected over time. They offer a description of the history but they are just an account of compiled from already existing sources.

From the map it is easy to conclude that California was inhabited by large groups of Native Americans mainly the Indians. According to the artifacts, the native Californians were hunters. This is evidenced by the arrows that they kept.

“The Three Worlds of the Chumash”

The three worlds of the Chumash is a belief by the Chumash where they believed the world was divided into three layers. They believed these layers existed in “space.” These three worlds represented to what geographically can be referred to as spheres namely, the land, sea and sky (Olin and Chan 33).

The Chumash believed that the Great Eagle ruled the skies while the serpent ruled the land. The water world was inhabited by frogs that urinated and produced the water that characterizes it. More importantly, the Chumash believed in the Sun God who carried the torch that lights the world. The torch was carried in a tightly rolled bark. By whipping the sparks, the Sun God created the night sky through the sparks from the touch (Olin and Chan 35).

The Chumash’s believed in a Supreme Being whom Christians refer to as God. They believed he was responsible for their existence and that he was responsible for all the events that took place especially in the sky world. Though there are parallel beliefs when the religious beliefs of the Chumash and Christians are compared, there are a few similarities that come to play. They believed in the Supreme Being the Sun God whom Christians refer to as God.

The sun God was the spirit that created the three worlds. This is comparable to Christians’ belief that the universe was created by God, whose different elements create the holly spirit. The differences between these groups may come in on the origin and composition of the different world and how they came to be. They may also have differences on the position of the sun and the moon as well as the cause of the night sky. Christians believe it is all the work of God whiles the Chumash some how don’t.

Primary and secondary sources used in this study have their weaknesses and strengths. Primary sources offer authenticity of the phenomena that is being describes. On the other hand, secondary sources are subjected to peer reviews that make them more accurate and easy to understand.


Before this reading, the picture that American Indians presented included that of tribal people living in huts and solely dependent on hunting and gathering. From a third grader point of view, Native Americans roamed the land in groups and their culture showed little civilization. They exhibited violent and primitive characteristics and sometimes they were deceptive.

They were people speaking different languages and grouped together in tribal groups that were led by chiefs. They also represented a picture of people with no or little religious beliefs far from what Christians and other among religions believed. Additionally they appeared as people who lived in forested areas and wore nothing on their bodies.

After the reading the American Indians strike one as people with concrete religious believes as evidenced by the Three Worlds Story. They also had an organized life where with hierarchical structure that defined roles for members of the community. They were civilized I their own ways running a self sufficient community.

Works cited

Chan, Sucheng and Olin, Spencer. Major problems in California history documents and essays. New York: Houghton Miffin, 1997. Print.

Hamilton, John. Primary and Secondary Sources. Minnesota: ABDO Publishing Group, 2005.Print

Klarer, Mario. An introduction to literary studies. New York: Routledge, 1998. Print.