Monday, April 9, 2012

The Miwok of Yosemite

I participated in a sweat lodge and Bear Dance Ceremony with the Miwok people of Yosemite.  It was good medicine.  I am so grateful.  Thank you, Creator and all my relations.

From the sacred grounds and museum of the Miwok people in Yosemite Park & Village:

Miwok elders tell us that by the early 1900s, most Miwok people no longer lived the old lifestyle and used fewer native plants.  By then, Miwok people were employed by non-Indians and bought supplies at local stores instead of only gathering natural food and herbal medicines.

Today, some Indian people continue to use herbal medicines, and prepare native foods (such as acorn mush) for family gatherings and celebrations.  A few people occasionally gather plants for food, baskets and other uses.

Few tribal elders know how to gather and use all of the native plants, but since the 1970s, a small number of Indian and non-Indian people have been attempting to re-learn these ancient skills.
Mistletoe leaves were boiled and the Miwok drank the resulting tea as a treatment for rheumatism, epilepsy, hysteria, and other nervous conditions, and to induce abortions.

The ceremonial roundhouse (entrance shown above) is the center of religious activity.

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