Miwok Native American Festival

3N3A1863Today arrived and we had a couple of festivals we could attend. We narrowed it down to an Arts Festival and a Native American Indian festival.  We chose the Native Americans.  Hosting this festival in the lovely Miwok Park in Novato was the Miwok tribe. The word Miwok means “people” in their native language. 

As I knew nothing of this tribe and in fact had never heard of them I looked them up in Wikipedia and learned:3N3A1855

“The predominant theory regarding the settlement of the Americas date the original migrations of the Miwok tribe from Asia to around 20,000 years ago across the Bering Strait land bridge, but anthropologists claim that the Miwok and some other California tribes descend from Siberians who arrived in California by sea around 3,000 years ago.

The Miwok lived in small bands without centralised 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. 

3N3A1858They burned vegetation to reduce the amount 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 spiritual narratives tend to be similar to those of other natives of Northern California. The 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.Snip20180915_4


Enjoy the photos below:






5 thoughts on “Miwok Native American Festival

  1. I hadn’t heard of this group of Native Americans either. 3000 to 20000 years is a big difference! I was fascinated when we lived there by the big differences in times of arrival. I think the Navajo are among the more recent – or at least that’s what I read in the 90s.

    I enjoyed this post and your pics Pam. The last one makes for a provocative conclusion.

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    1. It was funny. Just as I was pondering the jacket full of arrows a buck deer had come out of the woods and gotten mixed up in the crowd. He panicked and ran very fast past me. He brushed my clothes as he passed. I was lucky not to have been a few inches over to the right more as he had a full head of antlers. He ran across the grounds and back into the woods. An amazing sight.


  2. colorful attire and nice looking people… most of the northern Calif. indians were peaceful, i believe… Ishi of Two Worlds describes one of them and how he fared, dealing with white people; it’s a book by Ursula LeGuin’s father, i forget his name.. it really looks like a fun festival!… tx for sharing…

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