Somebody out there loves me! In response to my last blog on the local Pomo Native Americans and the paucity of information about them I received an e-mail pointing me to the website of the Stanford Inn in Mendocino. Stanford Inn? You jest? No ….. just read the extract below from the website about the Pomo who lived on and around Big River at Mendocino.
The Mitom Pomo – Early Settlements
Big River’s two histories, one natural and the other cultural, converged sometime in the last 10,000 years. Ten thousand years ago, the sea level was some 300 feet below where we know it today and Big River was 3 1/2 miles longer. There was no Mendocino headland. Big River cut through a marine escarpment emptying into the Pacific. The lower sea level allowed Asians to cross to North America. Among them were people of the Hokan language family who made their way south and settled in California. The Pomo, a distinct and isolated Hokan group, occupied what are now Mendocino, Lake and Sonoma counties.
When the Pomo arrived is not known, nor do we know what they found. They may have lived along a coast now buried underwater but nevertheless, by the time Europeans arrived they were well established in Mendocino County. The Me-tum’mah, or Mitom Pomo, lived in the area of Little Lake Valley near Willits and claimed the coast from south of the Noyo River at what is now Fort Bragg, to just north of the Navarro River, eighteen miles south.
Big River is the principle stream draining land from just west and south of Willits. The area was prolific. Near Willits were abundant oaks producing the Mitom’s dietary staple, acorns. To the west was Big River and the Pacific teeming with wildlife and importantly, kelp, a source of salt. To make tools, the Mitom traded with the another Pomo group, the Mato who made their coastal encampment north of the Noyo River. The Mato had direct access to obsidian, a volcanic glass, used to make points (arrow and spear heads) scrapers and other tools. Bits of obsidian can still be found throughout the Mendocino area.
The Mitom called their coastal camp “Bool-dam”or Buldam signifying “big holes” for the blowholes on the headlands at Mendocino and Russian Gulch.
Buldam was not a permanent home for the Mitom until they sought to escape the influx of Europeans settling Little Lake Valley. They permanently moved to Buldam in approximately 1850.
Households were setup near freshwater springs and occasionally artifact remnants can be found, including pieces of worked obsidian, broken pestles used for grinding and worked pieces of chert. The fate of the Mitom is not clearly known. Some were part of 200 Pomos who were rounded up by the U.S. Army in the early 1850’s and removed from the coast.
How about them onions!!!!!!
View from Stanford Inn (taken from the Stanford Inn website) that the Pomo would have had of Mendocino Bay