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Glossary

Adobe Clay and straw or grass mixed together to become a building material. Sometimes prehistoric people used adobe to build walls by laying down strips of adobe, then smoothing it. Since clay and straw were easy to find, Mormon settlers made many buildings from adobe bricks. Many of the oldest houses in Utah still have adobe bricks as part of their structure.

Artifact An object made, used, or modified by a human.

Athabaskan The language family spoken by Navajos. It is related to the languages spoken by many north American tribes, including Apaches and various indigenous groups in Canada, Alaska, and Mexico.

Built environment The structures humans have built: buildings, houses, garages, fences, plazas, streets, sewer lines, dams, landscapes, sports arenas, and lots more.

Deseret Alphabet An alphabet invented and used (a little) by the Mormons in 1854. It was supposed to simplify spelling. A few things were printed using it, but the alphabet never really caught on...

Domesticate To adapt a plant or animal for human purposes, such as food

Indigenous People who are native to a place, who lived there for unknown generations before newcomers arrived.

Lifeway A customary way of living, including cultural traditions and strategies for survival.

Mano and metate A stone (mano) used to grind seeds against a stone platform (metate).

Migrate To move from one region to another.

Mormon terms

Mountain man slang (from Discovering Utah, by Nancy D. McCormick and John S. McCormick)

Narrative History (or anything) told in a story form.

Nomadic Moving around to take advantage of resources (such as plants and animals) available in different places at different times.

Numic A group of related languages that are part of the larger Uto-Aztecan family. It includes languages spoken by American Indians traditionally living in the Great Basin, Colorado Plateau, and southern Great Plains. (In Utah, this includes the Goshutes, Paiutes, Shoshone, and Utes.)

Polygamy The practice of having more than one spouse. Some American Indians practiced polygamy. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) authorized polygamy (multiple wives) as part of their religion in the church's early decades. The church ended the practice, but it continues today among some fundamentalist groups.

Precipitation Rain or snowfall. It is measured in inches. In the case of snow, the amount of precipitation isn't the inches that snow that have fallen, but the inches of water that would have fallen if the snow had been rain.

Prohibition Laws that prohibit making, selling, or drinking alcoholic beverages. Utah's legislature passed a statewise prohibition law in 1917. In 1919 the United States banned alcohol nationwide with the Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution. In 1933, Utah joined other states in voting to repeal the Eighteenth Amendment.

Suffrage The right to vote.

Transcription Typewritten copy of a handwritten document or an oral history.

Wickiup A home made of poles covered with brush. See Paiute wickiups on this page.

Winnow To separate chaff from seeds. Native peoples would put the seeds in a basket and toss them up and down as the breeze carried off the chaff (the parts of the plant they couldn't eat).