image of IndianA Peaceful People - Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians (January 2001)

-- Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians, Shingle Springs Rancheria of El Dorado County, California.

The early Sierra Miwoks lived in the foothills or lowlands and moved into the high Sierras in the summer for hunting. Their homes were semi-subterranean and earth-covered. Their summer mountain shelters were mere lean-tos of bark. Their chief food staple was acorns.

image of Miwok Indians
Photo courtesy of the Shingle Springs Rancheria.

In 1861-52 -- a treaty commission was sent from Washington to get the Indians out of the way of expansion into the newly-conquered Mexican territory. The commission negotiated 18 treaties with more than 500 Indian leaders of the many tribes whose territories patchworked the land. Those treaties set aside 8.5 million acres of land, away from seacoasts, in scattered parcels, none containing more than 25,000 acres. The treaties had been sent to a Senate archive and lost therein for 50 years. Nothing was heard of those treaties until 1905 -- the U.S. Senate never ratified them, and no land at all was set aside for the Indian people.

In 1905 there was beginning to be concern about the surviving landless desperately poor California Natives. And thus began the unique California "Rancheria" Indian reservation system, where patches of isolated land were federally purchased for Indians.

Today, about 52 families live on the 160 acre Shingle Springs Rancheria where the tribe operates its own library, church, fire department, tribal center and community center. The tribal members of the Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians consist of Miwok, Maidu and Nisenan Indian. Visit the Shingle Springs Rancheria located in the Sierra foothills, within a broad geophysical belt known as the "Mother Lode" country. The Rancheria is located just off Highway 50 in El Dorado County, approximately nine miles west of Placerville and 40 miles east of Sacramento.

Reference: 1999-2000 Britannica