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Mount Diablo - Essay Example

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Willows, oak trees, Brodiaea bulbs, black-tailed deers, gray foxes, mountain lions, rattlesnakes, spiders. These and a host of other creatures call the majestic Mount Diablo in Contra Costa, California their home. Myriad flora envelops the rugged terrain of the mountain and widely diverse wildlife partakes in the nourishment provided by the lush vegetation…
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Mount Diablo
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Download file to see previous pages My family and I might as well have been a part of the tribe known to be the earliest inhabitants of Mount Diablo - the Miwok ("The Miwok"), which means people. We may have belonged to one of the tribelets that lived in villages in close proximity to the creeks, streams and caves of Mount Diablo. With this, we could have called ourselves Volvon, the great Miwok tribe. ("Bay Miwok of Contra Costa County")
As part of this remarkable tribe, comprised of about a hundred natives or more, we built houses made from indigenous materials such as tules and willow branches. Our houses were domed-shape with the walls formed by vines and twigs which were woven through willow branches and then covered with tule bundles. ("Bay Miwok of Contra Costa County")
As a means of subsistence, the men of our tribe hunted down deer, elks, antelopes, rabbits, ducks, geese and rodents to provide meat for the families. In the same way as our houses were built, the men of Volvon utilized natural resources as armaments of bows, arrows, spears and nets. The strings of four-foot long bows were made from plant fibers or animal tendons. On the other hand, the arrows and spears were made from hardwood, while the nets for catching smaller animals are of grass fibers. Our village could have been situated near bodies of water surrounding Mount Diablo. As such, the men of the tribe also went fishing using spears, basket traps, snares and nets. To make the day's catch more palatable to our taste, meat was roasted over the open fire and seasoned with salt. ("Bay Miwok of Contra Costa County")
With the early forms of society, the women of our tribe stayed near their homes and looked after their children. Aside from this, the women, with their children tagging along, also gathered plants for food. The tribal diet primarily constituted of acorns harvested from oak trees densely scattered in Mount Diablo. For the acorn to be cooked as mush or baked into bread, the women of the Volvon tribe painstakingly processed their bountiful harvest. ("Bay Miwok of Contra Costa County")
I stood watching as the women went about this tedious task. To start off, acorn shells were cracked open in order to get the kernel. This would be repeatedly done until enough kernels have been gathered ("Bay Miwok of Contra Costa County"). These kernels were placed on grinding holes seen as indentions in the rocky outcrops. The holes found on large rocks near caves and water sources, which can still be found in Mount Diablo until now, might have served this purpose (Elliot).
After this, the kernels were pounded using a pestle or stone hammer until they turned to powder or what is called the "acorn flour." To wash away the bitter taste of the acorn, the "acorn flour" was placed into shallow baskets and thoroughly rinsed. ("Bay Miwok of Contra Costa County")
Once the rinsing is done, the "acorn flour" was mixed with water in a tightly woven basket. Subsequently, the small stones, which were gathered by the village children, were heated in a fire until they become scalding. The red-hot stones would then be dropped into the basket containing the mixture of "acorn flour" and water. The mixture was continuously stirred to a creamy ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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