Native Americans of the Stanislaus Region
The Native American Tribes of California's Central Valley in the area that would become Stanislaus County are identified in Tinkham's 1921 history as Modocs, subdivided into several different tribes. Tinkham bases his information on the sightings of trappers and explorers who were astounded by the number of villages along the rivers in the area. Tinkham eventually states that "the entire race were called by the people, in general 'Walla Wallas' or 'Digger Indians' because of their custom of digging in the earth for edible roots."
Since the publication of Tinkham, the natives of the Stanislaus region have been classified as Yokuts who occupied a 250 mile long strip in the central San Joaquiin Valley and a smaller strip of the eastern foothills. According to the Califoria Indians website, the Yokuts are sometimes divided into the Southern Valley Yokuts, the Northern Valley Yokuts and the Foothill Yokuts. There are 40 or 50 tribes identified as Yokuts.
For an in-depth look at the Yokuts, click here: Social Studies Fact Cards
The Eastern Miwok, differentiated from the Coast and Lake Miwok, lived mostly along the foothills of the Sierras and up into the mountains below the snowline. Miwork tribes living along the Sacramento River and its delta were known as Plains Miwok and Bay Miwok. According to the California Indians website, the Miwok considered themselves to belong to tribelets or small groups of villages of 100 to 500 people.
For an in-depth look at the Miwok, click here: Social Studies Fact Cards
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Artwork by Stanley Vasche
"Our County - a Story of Stanislaus"
by Jospeh Burton Vasche
Stanislaus County Schools
Mrs. Margaret L. Annear, Superintendent