From the series American Archaeology and Ethnology.
her hand there is a general feeling in this region that not only acts of a religious nature but ordinary work cannot be well performed after eating. Among the men of Northwestern California breakfast was therefore habitually slight or entirely omitted. Perhaps the greatest development of the practice of fasting in North America occurs in connection with the acquisition of shamanistic power. Shamanism is fully as important among the California Indians as elsewhere, but differs in that it is more frequently regarded as an obsession, something that of its own accord comes upon a man rather than something that it is sought to acquire by actions. Much of the incentive for fasting among other Indians is therefore lacking, and when the practice is observed it is usually less rigorous. In Northwestern California, for instance, a person engaged in almost any supernatural or religious practice abstains from drinking water; but as to practical effect this provision is done away with through his being allowed to drink th
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