The Miwok Village

At Indian Grinding Rock State Historic Park, a typical Miwok village has been reconstructed, with bark houses, a ceremonial roundhouse, acorn granaries, shade ramadas, and an Indian game field. Here, contemporary Miwok practice their traditions and share their heritage with park visitors.

Village Life

Before Europeans arrived, Miwok village size varied from two dozen to several hundred individuals. Each village had a specific territory to assure that its need for food, clothing, and shelter would be met. The village was the primary political unit in Miwok life, though larger alliances existed between villages. Bands and tribes also traded widely throughout California.

U'macha – Bark Houses

At Indian Grinding Rock State Historic Park, reconstructed bark houses, known as u'macha, are located near the chaw'se and at the village west of the roundhouse. These traditional Miwok homes, eight to fifteen feet in diameter, are built of cedar poles interwoven with grapevines or willow, and covered with cedar bark. A hole at the top releases the smoke from cooking and heating fires.

Poscoi a we'a – Game Field

A game field, poscoi a we'a, has been reconstructed near the roundhouse. Here, the villagers played a game similar to soccer. On a field about 110 yards long, players tried to kick or carry a ball (made of deer or elk hide) to the opposite team's goal. Both men and women played, but their roles were different. Men could only kick the ball, while women could handle the ball in any manner. However, if a woman held the ball, a man could pick her up and run for the goal.