Sonoma County Native American Indian Tribes

Sonoma County, also known as the Wine Country, and its total of approximately 1,800 square miles was officially founded in 1850. However, the area’s scenic beauty, rich soil, hospitable year-round climate, and easy access To fishing in the ocean and the river, as well as abundant game reserves attracted the inhabitants for many centuries. The Pomo, Coast Miwok, Patwin and Wappo Indian tribes were its first known and documented inhabitants dating back to 8,000 BC. C. And these first Native American Indian tribes who enjoyed their prosperous lives in peace and harmony until European settlers, more specifically the Spanish, arrived in the 19th century.

The Pomo Indians …

The Pomo Indians were made up of seventy smaller tribes, each with its own distinct language and territory within the region. What literally brought them all together was their art: the art of basket weaving practiced by both men and women. Everything related to their lifestyles, their cultures and their livelihoods was directly related to their baskets and revolved around their crafts. The seventy Pomo Indian tribes that made baskets used similar materials, used the same techniques, and produced very similar shapes.

The Pomo Indians were invaded in the 18th century by brutal Russian fur traders and, with the discovery of gold in 1848, by Americans. Its population was greatly reduced by murderous massacres, forced and debilitating labor, as well as white male diseases. Due to the American Indian Reservations and Trusted Areas of 1996, today’s Pomo Indians acquired a federally protected reservation.

The Miwok Indians of the coast …

The Miwok Coast Indians made the region we now call Sonoma County home for more than five thousand years until they were captured and forced to work as slaves by the first Spanish settlers in the late 18th century.

Of the 600 villages discovered in the area, archaeologists learned that the Miwok of the coast had an extraordinarily abundant and intricate culture that included hunting birds and big game, fishing, gathering and processing acorns, making baskets. and beads, as well as ritual ceremonies incorporating dance and music. The language of the Miwok Indians of the coast was unusually elaborate and extremely complicated.

The Patwin Indians …

The Patwin Indians are one of five other tribes (Ululatos, Libaytos, Malacas, Tolenas, and Suisunes) within the larger Wintum group that lived in the Sonoma Valley area for approximately four thousand years until they too were brutalized by the invaders. Spaniards in the 19th century.

The Patwin Indians are best characterized as guardians and tellers of local myths, powerful legends, tales, and oral histories from their own families and the community at large. The Patwins firmly believed that their spiritual leaders, the shamans, could speak to the dead and heal the sick.

The Wappo Indians …

The Wappo Indians inhabited the general territory that is now Sonoma County and maintained their livelihood and rich traditions by hunting and gathering the abundance provided by the land, and their beautifully handcrafted baskets were constructed so well that they could hold water indefinitely.

The entire Wappo nation was heavily baptized and absorbed by the various local Spanish missions.

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