The Miwok Village

The primary destination for my birthday celebration was the Miwok Village, a replica of the kind of village lived in by the Coast Miwok people prior to the Spanish invasion. Named Kule Loklo, the structures are located about one-half mile from the Point Reyes Ranger Station.

My first visit to the village was about 20 years ago. I sat there alone for about an hour and imagined what it would’ve been like to live there. Having read Malcolm Margolin’s The Ohlone Way expedited my visualization. I could easily imagine having lived there then. It would have been like camping out in the Garden of Eden.

This time I visited with my sister and brother-in-law. What struck me most is that the Coast Miwok lived there in the Bay Area much the same way for 8,000 years in villages that averaged 200 inhabitants. Imagine that. 8,000 years!

They felt no need to migrate. They felt no need to conquer other nearby indigenous ethnic groups, such as the Ohlone. Such an idea was probably foreign to them. They might not even have known how to rule and dominate.

Presumably they felt no need to expand because they lived in Paradise. The fish were so plentiful the Spanish threw rocks into the water to kill them. And when startled, birds would fly off and would block the sun like an eclipse.

Some 50 tribes lived peacefully in the Bay Area, with only occasional internecine conflict. Originally from China, I assume they left China because it was too crowded, migrated here probably looking for warmer weather, and decided the Bay Area would suffice! No wonder. Acorns were their staple, the ocean was plentiful, and they did some hunting. Most times of the year, they wore little or no clothing.

This visit I took note of the fact that several members of one extended family slept together in their small houses. That must have been cozy! Presumably they could have build more houses, but felt no need to do so. No isolated, suburban single-family homes there!

I was also struck by the fact that there were very few visitors to the village. Though the nearby visitor center was very busy, we were at the village more than 30 minutes and had the space completely to ourselves. The village fascinates and mesmerizes me. It documents vividly how modern life is not natural and inspires me to seek some kind of return to our roots. But apparently few people share my interest. Alas.


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