Thursday, June 26, 2014

Book Review: Miwok

Miwok by Barbara A. Gray-Kanatiiosh, ABDO Publishing Company, North Mankato, MN, 2002.
This is a child’s book, and gives an introduction to the Miwok.  However it is even thin for a children’s book.  The part I liked were the creation story as told by the Miwok.  Old Man Coyote wanted to make people but needed land where they could live.  He made lad from some mud he found on Frog’s feet.  He then set sticks into the land, waved his blanket over the sticks and turned them into people. 
The parts where I learned something new is that the Miwok had three basic areas they inhabited, by different groups which spoke the same language.  Coastal Miwok lived in the North Bay area, Lake Miwok in the clear lake area, and Eastern Miwok from Mount Diablo to Yosemite.  Each population had different types of dwellings based on the resources available.  They Lake and Coastal used more tule in their housing.  Acorn was a staple in their diet, along with what they could gather and hunt.  The men and women had tattoo markings on their chins, and sometimes down onto their chests.  They did not wear a lot of clothes, especially in the summer.  Boys fashioned rabbit sticks, which they used to hit small animals.  They also used snares, arrows and nets in hunting.
With the coming of gold, the Miwok were forced off their land.  Chief Tenaya lead a revolt.  He wanted to live in Yosemite valley.  After many Native Americans were killed, Tenaya called for a truce.  However he was killed by ambush. 
The part is disliked is the current condition of the Miwok was very sketchy.  Some live on Rancherias.  There are about 3500 Miwok today. 

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