New parents carefully watched their tiny babies to make sure they stayed warm and dry. Usually a baby was strapped into a cradle and tied to the mother’s back so she could have the baby with her while she worked.

Children were taught good behavior, traditions, and tribal rules from the time they were babies. Young children were punished lightly, but older children were punished more if they did not follow the rules.

Fathers made their sons small bows and arrows so the boys could improve their hunting skills. They practiced shooting at frogs or chipmunks. When a boy killed his first large animal, he was not allowed to touch or eat it. Others carried the animal home, and the people in the village cooked and ate it. This tradition taught boys that they should always share food with the tribe.

Mothers taught their daughters how to cook and make baskets. When girls played together, they sometimes played with dolls made of tules or had contests to see who could make a basket the fastest.

In most years it was not too hard for Yokuts to find plenty of food. They got along with the neighboring tribes and were safe. They had time to play games and make beautiful baskets for their enjoyment. They sang and danced and visited with other tribes.

–Adapted from research by Mary Ann Brensel