Historical distribution of the Miwok people in California
|1770: over 11,000|
|Regions with significant populations|
|California: Sierra Nevada Mountains, Central Valley, Marin County, Sonoma County, Lake County, Contra Costa County|
| Shamanism: Kuksu |
|Related ethnic groups|
The Miwok (also spelled Miwuk, Mi-Wuk, or Me-Wuk) are members of four linguistically related Native American groups indigenous to what is now Northern California, who traditionally spoke one of the Miwok languages in the Utian family. The word Miwok means people in the Miwok language.
Anthropologists commonly divide the Miwok into four geographically and culturally diverse ethnic subgroups. These distinctions were not used among the Miwok before European contact.
The United States Bureau of Indian Affairs officially recognizes eleven tribes of Miwok descent in California. They are as follows:
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The predominant theory regarding the settlement of the Americas date the original migrations from Asia to around 20,000 years ago across the Bering Strait land bridge, but one anthropologist claims that the Miwok and some other northern California tribes descend from Siberians who arrived in California by sea around 3,000 years ago.
The Miwok lived in small bands without centralized political authority before contact with European Americans in 1769. They had domesticated dogs and cultivated tobacco, but were otherwise hunter-gatherers.
The Sierra Miwok harvested acorns from the California Black Oak. In fact, the modern-day extent of the California Black Oak forests in some areas of Yosemite National Park is partially due to cultivation by Miwok tribes. They burned understory vegetation to reduce the fraction of Ponderosa Pine.Nearly every other kind of edible vegetable matter was used as a food source, including bulbs, seeds, and fungi. Animals were hunted with arrows, clubs or snares, depending on the species and the situation. Grasshoppers were a highly prized food source, as were mussels for those groups adjacent to the Stanislaus River.
The Miwok ate meals according to appetite rather than at regular times. They stored food for later consumption, primarily in flat-bottomed baskets.
Miwok mythology and narratives tend to be similar to those of other natives of Northern California. Miwok had totem animals, identified with one of two moieties, which were in turn associated respectively with land and water. These totem animals were not thought of as literal ancestors of humans, but rather as predecessors.
Miwok people played gender mixed games[ clarification needed ] on a 110-yard playing field called poscoi a we’a. A unique game was played with young men and women. Similarly to soccer, the object was to put an elk hide ball through the goalpost. The girls were allowed to do anything, including kicking the ball and picking it up and running with it. The boys were only allowed to use their feet, but if a girl was holding it he could pick her up and carry her towards his goal.
In 1770, there were an estimated 500 Lake Miwok, 1,500 Coast Miwok, and 9,000 Plains and Sierra Miwok, totaling about 11,000 people, according to historian Alfred L. Kroeber, although this may be a serious undercount; for example, he did not identify the Bay Miwok.The 1910 Census reported only 671 Miwok total, and the 1930 Census, 491. See history of each Miwok group for more information. Today there are about 3,500 Miwok in total.
The Star Wars films feature a fictional species of forest-dwelling creatures known as Ewoks, who are ostensibly named after the Miwok. [ citation needed ]However, the historical Northern-California footprint of the Miwok people (where George Lucas's home and corporate headquarters were located) may have caused the Ewoks' name to be retconned to enhance the marketability of the 1983 film.
The Miwok people are encountered in Kim Stanley Robinson's book, The Years of Rice and Salt . In an alternate history scenario depicted in the book they are the first group of Native Americans encountered by the first Chinese to discover the continent.
Some of the California Indian tribes that are descended from Russian Siberians, Von Sadovszky said, are the Wintuan, of the Sacramento Valley, the Miwokan, of the area north of San Francisco, and the Costanoan, of the area south of San Francisco.
The Coast Miwok are an indigenous people that was the second largest group of Miwok people. The Coast Miwok inhabited the general area of modern Marin County and southern Sonoma County in Northern California, from the Golden Gate north to Duncans Point and eastward to Sonoma Creek. The Coast Miwok included the Bodega Bay Miwok, from authenticated Miwok villages around Bodega Bay, and the Marin Miwok.
The Maidu are a Native American people of northern California. They reside in the central Sierra Nevada, in the watershed area of the Feather and American rivers. They also reside in Humbug Valley. In Maiduan languages, Maidu means "man".
Utian is a family of indigenous languages spoken in Northern California, United States. The Miwok and Ohlone peoples both spoke languages of the Utian language family. It has recently been argued that the Utian languages and Yokuts languages are sub-families of the Yok-Utian language family. Utian and Yokutsan have traditionally been considered part of the Penutian language phylum.
The California Valley Miwok Tribe is a federally recognized tribe of Miwok people in San Joaquin County and Calaveras County, California. They were previously known as the Sheep Ranch Rancheria or the Sheep Ranch Rancheria of Me-Wuk Indian of California. The California Valley Miwok are Sierra Miwok, an indigenous people of California.
The Ione Band of Miwok Indians is a federally recognized tribe of Miwok people in Amador County, California. As of the 2010 census the population was only 5.
The Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians, Shingle Springs Rancheria, California is a federally recognized tribe of Maidu and Miwok people in El Dorado County, California. The Shingle Springs Miwok are Sierra Miwok, an indigenous people of California. As of the 2010 Census the population was 102.
The Tuolumne Band of Me-Wuk Indians is a federally recognized tribe of Yokuts and Miwok people in Tuolumne County, California. The Tuolumne Band are central Sierra Miwok people. Annually, in September, the tribe holds an acorn festival and intertribal gathering.
The Yokuts are an ethnic group of Native Americans native to central California. Before European contact, the Yokuts consisted of up to 60 tribes speaking several related languages.
Buena Vista is a census-designated place in Amador County, California. It lies at an elevation of 295 feet. It is located 4 miles (6.4 km) south-southeast of Ione, at. The community is in ZIP code 95640 and area code 209. The population was 429 at the 2010 census.
The Lake Miwok are a branch of the Miwok, a Native American people of Northern California. The Lake Miwok lived in the Clear Lake basin of what is now called Lake County.
Central Sierra Miwok is a Miwok language spoken in California, in the upper Stanislaus and Tuolumne valleys. Today it is spoken by the Chicken Ranch Rancheria of Me-Wuk Indians of California, a federally recognized tribe of Central Sierra Miwoks.
The Plains and Sierra Miwok were once the largest group of Native American Miwok people, indigenous to California. Their homeland included regions of the Sacramento Valley, San Joaquin Valley, and the Sierra Nevada.
Plains Miwok and Sierra Miwok traditional narratives include myths, legends, tales, and oral histories preserved by the Miwok people of the central California, specifically those of Sacramento Valley and Sierra Mountains. These Miwoks are the linguistically related speakers of the Plains and Sierra Miwok languages and their descendants. At the time of European entry, local groups that spoke these languages participated in the general cultural pattern of central California.
The Graton Rancheria was a 15.45-acre (62,500 m2) property in the coastal hills of northern California, about two miles (3 km) northwest of Sebastopol. The site is about 1.5 miles (2.4 km) southwest of the hamlet of Graton, population 1,815 in 2000. The area is a few miles west of Santa Rosa, the largest of Sonoma County's nine cities and the County seat, population 147,595 in 2000. It was a former rancheria for Central Coast and Central valley tribes, including the Southern Pomo, a Hokan-speaking tribe, and Coast Miwok.
The Buena Vista Rancheria of Me-Wuk Indians of California is a federally recognized tribe of Miwok in Amador County, California. The Buena Vista Miwok are Sierra Miwok, an indigenous people of California.
Jackson Rancheria is the landbase for the Jackson Rancheria of Me-Wuk Indians of California, a federally recognized tribe of Miwok people, located near Jackson, California. It is located in Amador County, about midway between Jackson and Pine Grove. The reservation operates the Jackson Rancheria Casino Resort, located on its territory.
Wilton Rancheria is a federally recognized Native American tribe of Miwok people based in northern California. They were formed from Wilton Rancheria Miwok and the Me-Wuk Indian Community of the Wilton Rancheria. It regained recognition in 2009.
The Miwok are four Native American groups in Northern California.
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