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TOURS TO START AT ANCIENT INDIAN SITE.

Byline: Daily News

TEHACHAPI - Spring tours will begin Saturday at a state historic park where there is an American Indian village site once inhabited by the Kawaiisu people.

Although no structures remain, Tomo-Kahni State Historic Park contains pictographs, rock rings marking where homes were built of juniper boughs, hundreds of holes where food was ground, and a cave that is sacred to the Kawaiisu.

"The site itself is beautiful, and it's apparent why they chose this area as their winter home," said state parks staffer Jean Scott. "Descendants of the Kawaiisu are alive and well in Tehachapi, and there is a great effort to revive and preserve their culture, such as the creation of a full dictionary of the Kawaiisu language, which was compiled just as the last two fluent speakers were in their 90s."

The park's name, Tomo-Kahni, means "winter home" in the in the language of the Kawaiisu, or Nuooah, a Shoshonean people who ranged from the Tehachapi area to Red Rock Canyon and for whom the sheltered valley was a seasonal home.

The park covers 240 acres of rolling hills between Tehachapi and Mojave. Kawaiisu lived there until the first part of the 20th century.

To protect the archaeological sites from vandals and artifact hunters, the park is open to the public only through guided tours led by docents in spring and fall. Tours involve a moderately strenuous hike.

Tours this spring will begin at 9 a.m. Saturday. They will continue when weather permits through June 24.

Tours, limited to 12 people, last approximately four hours, starting with a meeting at the Tomo-Kahni Resource Center in Tehachapi for a brief orientation and including the drive to the park.

Reservations must be made through the parks office at 43779 15th St. W. in Lancaster, or by calling (661) 942-0662, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

The reservation fee is $5 for one to six people and $10 for seven to 12 people.

The cost of the tour is $4 per adult and $2 per child age 6 through 16, paid on the day of the tour.

The tour is not recommended for children age 5 and younger, but they are admitted free and must be cared for by adults who bring them.

CAPTION(S):

2 photos

Photo:

(1 -- 2 -- color) Above, visitors follow a docent on a tour through Tomo-Kahni State Historic Park, where spring tours will start Saturday. Below, pictographs adorn a rock wall at the park.

Jeff Goldwater/Staff Photographer
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Apr 10, 2006
Words:420
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