Two fun facts about the California Valley Miwok Tribe are that Miwok children had their noses and ears pierced and the Miwok shaped clamshells into disks that they used as currency. The Miwok inhabited central California, primarily along the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains.Continue Reading
The Miwok governed themselves in tribelets, small groups of about 100 to 500 individuals. Each tribelet had a headman who directed gathering and hunting efforts and settled disagreements. The position of headman within each tribelet was passed down from father to son. Speakers and messengers worked closely with the headman to disperse information among the tribelet.
Miwok homes in the foothills and on the plains were constructed of pole frames covered in grass or reeds. In the mountains, homes were made of bark slabs that leaned against each other, forming a conical shape. Each community had an assembly house, where gatherings and dances were held.
The Miwok made bows from cedar and animal sinew for hunting, and they fashioned arrows from antlers. Spears with tips made of obsidian were used for warfare, although the Miwok did not wear body armor or use shields.
Some Miwok men and women would string clamshells into necklaces that they wore as decoration and to show off their wealth.Learn more about US History