OP 12550-34

(Documentary Artifact): Seven b/w photographic prints of Estevan Wypooke (also spelled Estevan Wypoo’ke) shelling dried acorns by beating them with a paddle. She sits on the ground behind a pile of acorns and holds up in her right hand a wooden paddle with a curved tip. On the ground next to her is an empty basket. Behind her is a wooden structure with a thatch roof and another structure made of branches.

Notes on verso:
Image 1: #OP12550-34/ 86:15752-34/ Old Wypooke shelling dried acorns by beating them with a paddle/ May 19 1912
Image 2: OP#12550-34/ 86:15752-34/ Old Wypooke shelling dried acorns by beating them with a paddle/ May 1912/ IN REF BOOK
Image 3: OP12550-34/ MN86:15752-34/ Estevan Wypooke shelling dried acorns by beating them with a paddle/ Estevan/ [Written by Davis:] Dup- Wypoo’ke/ Iñaja [Inaja]/ EHD./ May 1912
Image 4: #OP12550-34/ #MN 86:15752-34/ Old Wypooke shelling dried acorns by beating them with a paddle/ EHD/ May 19 1912/ IN REF BOOK/ [Written by Davis:] Old Wypoo’ke shelling dried acorns by beating them with a paddle/ May 19-1912
Image 5: [Same as Image 2]
Image 6: [Same as Image 2]
Image 7: OP12550-34/ 86:15752-34/ IN REF BOOK/ [Written by Davis:] Wypoo’ke shelling acorns by beating them with a paddle/ Iñaja [Inaja]/ May 1912/ EHD

*According to additional information provided by Teri Sloan Osuna on 10/2011:
Acorn mush (Diegueno word is Shawii, Luiseno word is We wish) is made from the black oak trees found in the mountain regions of California. These are the only oak trees whose leaves turn to a golden color, with the changing seasons of fall. The black oak trees produce acorns that fall to the earth, mostly during the month of November. They are gathered before the first rain or snow fall.

Traditionally the acorns were stored in a huge basket made from the willow bushes. Hawkweem is the Diegueno name for these storage baskets. They were placed above ground, at times over a ramada dwelling. The acorns were allowed to dry in the warmth of the sun. The basket is woven so tight, rodents nor rain or snow could penetrate the drying acorns. These acorns were air and sun dried. A small hole on the bottom would allow one to remove the desired amount of acorns for making the acorn mush.

The shells were broken and the seeds were removed. The fine paper like skin was loosened by lightly tapping of rocks, or by hitting them with a wooden paddle as shown in the photograph. The acorns are then put into a winnowing basket and lightly threshed into the air, letting the skin fly off from the acorn. The acorns are then pounded with a rock until fine flour is produced. The handheld rock and the grinding rock have distinctive shapes that occur after prolonged usage. The hand held rocks become smooth and somewhat flattened around the edges.

The acorn meal is now ready for leaching. Originally a loosely woven basket is used, with the acorn meal being placed in the basket and with water being poured over the acorn meal. This process is repeated until the acorn meal becomes light in color. When this happens, the tannic acid in the acorns have been washed out.

The acorn meal is then ready for cooking. The old method for cooking was to have a tightly woven basket with acorn meal, with water added (just enough water as one would use for making mush or oatmeal). Small round rocks that had been heated in an open fire would be put into the basket and stirred with a wooden spoon or paddle. When the mush starts bubbling, the acorn mush is poured into a pottery bowl and is allowed to set or jell. This does not take very long and happens when acorn mush cools down.

**According to additional information provided on 12/2011 by Richard Carrico, a member of the E.H. Davis Project Scholar Advisory Committee: The surname Wyepoke is an old family name that appears in mission records as Guaypoke and Gypoke and is associated in the 1775-1850 period with families and clans from the San Pasqual, Pu’mu (Pamo) and Mesa Grande rancherias. The name is also a clan designation and spelled by Gifford (1918) and Kroeber (1925) as Waipuk. This clan was noted in the early 1900s as living in the Anza-Borrego desert near San Felipe and that area may have been the ‘hearth’ area for this clan.