Table of Content
Food ..PAGE 3
Hunting and Fishing ..PAGE 4
Trade ..PAGE 5
Clothing .PAGE 6
Baskets and Pottery PAGE 7
Religion ..PAGE 8
Illustrations ... ..PAGE 9,10,11
Map ... .PAGE 11
Bibliography .. .PAGE 12
Many different kinds of plant foods grew in California
like berries. In forest there were foods like pine nuts. The Coast Miwok
ate animals like deer and fish. Native Americans found streams full of
fish for most of the year. Tule grew by large freshwater lakes. Tule could
be eaten as food when the plants were young and tender. Tule was used to
make fabric for clothes and for building boats and houses. Tule was probably
the most useful plant the California Indians found growing in their territory.
Acorns were the main source of food for all tribes. Preparing acorns for
a meal was also the women's job. Historians have estimated that one family
would eat from fifteen hundred to two thousand pounds of acorn flour a
Hunting and Fishing
Miwok men spent much of their time making fishing and
hunting tools. Bows and arrows were built with care to shoot as straight
as possible. Size and thickness of bows depended on the size of trees in
the tribes territory. Arrows were made depending on their use. Two piece
arrows were used in hunting large animals and good for wars. Older men
taught boys how to make and repair arrows and weapons. Men spent hours
making and mending fishing nets. The string used in making nets often came
from the fiber of plants. These fibers were twisted to make them tough
and then knotted into nets. Hooks were cut from shells. Sometimes poison
was put on top of the water to confuse them and cause them to float to
the surface. Not enough poison was used to hurt humans.
Trade was an important part of life to the Coast Miwok.
They traded fish and shells for hides. The Coast Miwok wanted mined rocks
and minerals they made into body paints for religious ceremonies. When
they had no items to trade they used strings of shells called dentalium
for money. These shells were of great value. They were found in the far
Northwest coast. For example, they could buy a house for three strings.
That is how valuable they were. The strings of shell were measured by a
tattoo on the trader's lower arm or hand. The Coast Miwok traded for stone
and made it into tools and arrowheads. Some tribes had craftsmen to make
tools made of wood and blades out of obsidian. Stone mortars and pestle,
which were used by women for grinding grains into flour, were good trading
Children and men were naked most of the year because clothing wasn't that important until it got cold. Most women wore a short apron-like skirt. Animal skin blankets were worn by both men and children. They were used like a cape wrapped around the body. All kinds of skins were used. Deer, otter, wildcat, but sea otter fur was thought to be the best. Most California people went barefoot in the villages. I am glad I have warm and comfortable clothes and shoes to wear.
Baskets and Pottery
Miwok women made be beautiful baskets. They may have been
the finest basket makers in the world. Baskets were used for storing food
, carrying babies and even for hauling water. In floods sometimes children,
women and belongings crossed flooded rivers and lakes in baskets because
they were sewn so tightly. Baskets also made good cooking pots. Very hot
rock were taken from a fire and rolled inside the basket with a tree branch
until the food in the basket was cooked. Most baskets were made for a reason
but some were made for the beauty alone. They were also good for trading
for needed goods. Older women in the tribe would teach the young girls
to weave baskets. Not many California tribes used pottery. Not many tribes
liked pottery. For example, pottery of California tribes were always a
dull red color. Designs were scarce and always in yellow.
Time-Life. The Indians of California. Editors of Time-Life
Books. Alexandra, Virginia. Pgs 50-51 & 53-54.
Boule, Mary Null. California Native America Tribes : Coast Miwok Tribe.
Merryant Publishing, Vashon, Washington. Pgs 6-29.