Molluck Trail- Livermore

Molluck Trail Morgan Territory – Livermore



11 Bedrock Mortars


At the intersection of Molluck and Coyote Trails.  This site spans both sides of Coyote Trail.


Possible housepits on the east side.


This small site could have been home to one or two families. Perhaps they preferred the relative isolation of the spot over the more crowded settlements nearby.





Bob holds a small pestle still in its original mortar. If you find it please leave it there for others to enjoy.




Lynch Canyon – American Canyon

58 Bedrock mortars in an idyllic sheltered setting.

Easy 1.2 mile walk from the parking lot.

Seriously overgrown since our first visit in 2009.

We were only able to daylight about 25 in December 2022.

Will have to return and do more. They’re all right there.

Find this gate on the Adobe Trail, then to the little rock outcrop in the trees.


Heather on a beautiful 21 bedrock mortar  boulder in 2009.


That’s the same boulder in 2022. Hard to get to. We’ll fix that next time.


Bob in 2009 on the little clearing into the Blackberry bushes.


The same clearing in 2022.

We started daylighting.


We cleared a little path into the blackberries.
Probably 20 buried bedrock mortars in front of Richard.
Next time!
It’s better if new explorers can see the mortars.
Easy access right off Interstate 80

San Leandro Reservoir

Upper San Leandro Reservoir – Moraga


8 bedrock mortars, 3-5 cupules. Site may be underwater.

This is a beautiful spot now because of the Upper San Leandro Reservoir, but it was probably nice in Jalquin times too. Back then these mortars were on a little hillside terrace above Kaiser Creek, a perennial watercourse. How many mortars here and how many sites altogether lie drowned in this reservoir and nearby Lake Chabot?

This site is in a restricted area. Secure permission before visiting it. Or bravely take your chances.












Minnis Ranch

Minnis Ranch – Ed Levin Park – Fremont

14 Bedrock Mortars & Pestles

It took us awhile to find this spot.


Unscrupulous, selfish explorers have been known to steal pestles. It’s wrong.

Although we know there are used and broken pestles lying around every site.


Don’t do it! Leave them for others to enjoy and appreciate.


Many early ranches are located right on top of prime Native American village sites.

They often have small collections of pestles, portable mortars, and arrowheads on their front porches.

Go figure.


Many people don’t realize that clicking on each site brings up photos and text.



Turtle Rock – Saratoga

Winter Solstice At Turtle Rock

Saratoga Gap open Space Preserve

Wallace Stegner Bench Loop via Saratoga Gap Trail


In the Santa Cruz Mountains at the highest point of Long Ridge are two rocks. One rock is vertical and has a notch in the top, the other is rounded and low with a deep crack in it. At sunset of the winter solstice, a beam of light shines through the notch in the vertical rock and onto the rounded rock, which symbolizes a Turtle’s shell.

An ancient Ohlone creation story tells that, before humans and other animals existed, the souls of all beings were brought from the ocean by Turtle and were contained within Turtle’s shell, represented by a large rounded rock on a ridge top in the Santa Cruz Mountains. At sunset on the winter solstice the sun descended at a certain angle and split the boulder open, and the souls of the people and other animals were set free.  Every year on the winter solstice, the Ohlone people celebrated special rituals at the holy rock.  Now, modern-day Pagans hold ceremonies at the site.

According to legend passed down by Ohlone (Indian) descendants and others, this was a gathering place for shamans from the bay side of the Santa Cruz Mountains to conduct sacred rituals on the winter solstice.

Congratulations Corrina Gould

Corrrina Gould and the Sogorea Te’ Land Trust have leapt seven generations forward with their recent agreement with the City of Oakland to cede 5 acres of prime real estate to their control, subject to a handful of further bureaucratic approvals.

We went to the Sequoia Point exquisite site Saturday. Wow, really.

The Vision

They have a vision and a 10 year plan to develop the site.

This is a fantastic boundary bending development in “Land Back” consciousness.

Corrina Gould, Sogorea Te’ Land Trust co-founder and Lisjan Tribal Chairwoman

“This agreement with the City of Oakland will restore our access to this important area, allowing a return of our sacred relationship with our ancestral lands in the Oakland hills. The easement allows us to begin to heal the land and heal the scars that have been created by colonization for the next seven generations.”

Libby Schaaf, Oakland Mayor

“I hope the work we are doing in Oakland with the Sogorea Te’ Land Trust can serve as a model for other cities working to return Indigenous land to the Indigenous community we stole it from,”

We would recommend supporting them in any way you can.

Sequoia Point is in Joaquin Miller Park which offers many great hiking and biking opportunities, and several year round springs feeding into the Sausal Creek watershed.







The Volvon Cave

The Volvon Cave

We do not disclose the location of this super important unrecognized and unprotected cave.

The art may be in better condition than at the Vasco Caves.

It could easily be 1000 years old.

Prominent researchers have identified the image below the circles as representing the Supernova event of the year 1054. More info at the bottom.

Your guess is as good as ours as to what it all means. Just know that these images are rich with meaning.

The Anthromorph.


DStretch photo technology brings out the best.

The Supernova of 1054

Supernova 1054 occurred on July 4, 1054 in the Crab Nebula. Europeans, Japanese, Iraqis, and Native Americans recorded the event. The supernova was 4X brighter than Venus. It was visible for 23 days during the day and it was visible at its peak for more than two years. A petroglyph at Penasco Blanco in New Mexico is thought to depict the event. The Anasazi Indians recorded the event as well in Chaco Canyon. Local astroarchaeologists suggest that the image to the far right of the main panel of the Volvon Cave pictographs may represent the supernova. The supernova has double stars in the center. That would date the Volvon Cave images at between 948 and 960 years B.P. if the interpretation is accurate.

The Proposed Volvon National Park surrounding the sacred Mountain Tuyshtak (Diablo)

Finding Lost Civilizations

Finding Lost Civilizations

Our friend Alex Kerekes has been making short videos of ancient habitation and art sites all over the world for quite a few years including more than 70 in California.

It is a phenomenal collection not found anywhere else.

Every one of these sites is a worthwhile destination for those who enjoy connecting with the cultures and societies that preceded us.

It helps to like hiking and being out in nature.

This is his latest on The Madussa Petroglyph Site. Fascinating material.


He’s not really touching it! An example of Superimposition.

Old art on top of older art.






A contemporary artist’s rendering showing the ancient grid pattern under the more recent petroglyphs.





For more local excursions try:

Rumsen Ohlone Indians of Carmel Valley

Cave of the Hands – The Esselen People – Big Sur

Mount Diablo &The Volvon People

Miwok Chaw-Se Site – Jackson

Little Arthur Creek – Santa Clara

More info and really local destinations:

Brushy Peak Rock Art – Livermore

Pecked, curvilinear, nucleated rock art elements (PCNs) and cupules

If you can understand that PCN art represents perhaps thousands of years of significant importance to the people who lived here then you will realize that what made them important then remains, making them important now.

Not just relics or epiphenomena of the pre-historic past, the marked boulders are representations of meaningful social and cultural practices or rituals.

Even today, they are material manifestations that evoke history, memory and meanings.

The basic elements of PCNs are circles and ovals, which have nuclei that appear raised.

They seldom occur in any discernible pattern. The elements are pecked into the surface of the rock.

PCNs, are not isolated objects on the landscape, but rather manifestations of activities that have taken place, and, as such, have become part of the landscape. They have a story to tell.

Thank you Donna Gillette.

Recently discovered by a pair of our adventurers on Brushy Peak, this rock sits in a charmed location near the top.

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This beauty sits on a slab overlooking the valley below.


This amazing cupule rock sits by itself on the First Terrace.

These cupules are made intentionally, and possess some non-utilitarian or symbolic function and have been pounded into a rock surface by a human hand.



True cupules have occurred from the earliest tool making cultures. Indeed, the oldest art on every populated continent consists of linear grooves and cupules.

No paleo-expert has yet produced a convincing explanation of the cultural or artistic meaning of cupules.

Most associate cupules with fertility rites.

Consider them as the surviving traces of specific behavior patterns.

In some form or fashion, they represent an endeavor of penetrating into rock in a very specific way.

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Save Mount Diablo

Save Mount Diablo and the China Wall

For 50 years the Save Mount Diablo group had been doing an outstanding job helping to preserve, protect, and restore the wild lands around the sacred mountain of the Volvon people.

They have recently expanded their focus to include the 200 mile long Diablo Range.

We believe there are significant undiscovered and undocumented pre-historic Native sites everywhere there is fresh water through this entire range.

Save Mount Diablo holds their annual “Moonlight on the Mountain” fundraiser at the China Wall Bedrock Mortar Site but probably does not draw their participant’s attention to it. They should.

This fantastic 4 mortar rock features some of the deepest we have ever found.

The China Wall celebration site

Bob approaches the ancient food processing boulder.

Sitting on the boulder imagining the Gala 50 Year Celebration.

Sitting on the boulder looking across to Castle Rock.

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Save Mount Diablo’s annual

Moonlight on the Mountain Gala

is back in-person and better than ever!

Join us for our 50th Anniversary

celebration at Mount Diablo’s China Wall

for a memorable evening complete with elegant

three-course dinner, live and silent auctions,

live music, and dancing beneath the stars.

Flower Power dress optional.

Although we can’t quite afford to attend this gala event, we do support them with small annual donations. A worthwhile cause!


The Lost City in the East Bay Hills

Bob Bardell published this article 15 years ago and it is now more relevant than ever.

We are convinced the history and importance of the Volvon Tribe will lead to a deeper understanding of pre-historic and post-historic California life-ways. This 2022 version features some minor corrections and Bob’s Afterword. (Attached)

It starts:

If you want to see the remains of a vanished Indian civilization, you don’t have to travel to Four Corners or the Yucatan. You can visit Volvon—the lost city in the Bay Area’s own backyard. Volvon contains the largest collection of bedrock mortars in the Bay Area and one of the largest in California. Its many house pits bespeak a once size-able population. Although these bedrock mortars and house pits may lack the grandeur of the ruins of Mesa Verde or Palenque, their antiquity is beyond question, and people lived in Volvon, more or less continuously, for thousands of years, until the Spanish missionized them at the beginning of the 19th century.

The Lost City is the centerpiece of Volvon Territory.

We have identified over 80 unique village and camp sites in Volvon featuring over 2000 bedrock mortars. And there is more still undiscovered.

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Lands End- Follow Up

Our intrepid explorers continue to expand our awareness of our shared environment.

Their recent report follows:

“Peter and I enjoy finding various lithic sources and recently we ventured to Bakers Beach and Marshall Beach not far from Lands End. Marshall Beach has its own wildlife (clothing optional – gay). But because the whole thing is Franciscan formation with crumbling cliffs, there is, from left to right:

Magnesite (MgCO3) – aka Pomo gold – can make beads
Soapstone – about the same low hardness – make beads, pipes, ear flares both can be “fired” to increase hardness and change color

The chert – First you have to find a chunk glassy enough, then within that get some flakes out of it. Obsidian is much easier to work.
But the chert points are found as artifacts and are much more durable.

None of these are ancient artifacts, I made em”

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The rocks are of the “Franciscan assemblage” of old sea floor brought to the surface when California still had a converging plate margin. Polished from wave action.

Lands End

Lands End – San Francisco

2 ancient Shellmounds if you know where to look.

We think the village could have been in the Sutro’s Gardens area.

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These stacked sticks represent an allusion to remaining Native Californians.

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Looking from one shellmound across to the Cliff House site.

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Bob points to the sandy slope just below the road above the Cliff House.

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Yes. They were here for thousands of years too!

Lands End

Europeans had different ideas for the site back in the 1800’s.

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The Birthing Rock

We don’t disclose the location of this absolutely magical site that we stumbled upon one day while searching for bedrock mortars.

To our knowledge no Native American, Archaeologist, or Park and Water District employee was ever aware of it.

We believe “The Pouch” was carefully carved out to hold a woman’s body while giving birth


The view while lying in “The Pouch”


Many cupules, often associated with fertility rites, cover the side of the boulder.


Heather sits atop the rock by the carved out bowl we think could have held burning sage and herbs to facilitate the birthing process.


Heather relaxes in the pouch.



This rock sits directly in front of the pouch, also covered with cupules.


After a little daylighting two Olla type bowls are uncovered, presumably used to heat water during the birthing.


A Doula tests another approach.

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This phenomenal site should be recognized and protected. Who knows how many Volvon births may have occurred here? Its location suggests midwives living on site and guardians offering protection from wild animals.

Enjoy our 4 minute slideshow “Heather at the Birthing Site”

Volvon Territory
We believe many hundreds of people lived here for thousands of years prior to the arrival of Europeans, 250 short years ago.

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Cloverdale Petroglyph Boulder


We don’t provide precise directions to this fabulous example of Native American rock art but it’s right on the Russian River.

These signs and cupules had (have) meanings and value.

We just don’t know what.





Note the Continental Shelf extending out into the ocean.

We believe it could have been inhabited long before current estimates of early human habitation.

You can see the outflow of the Great Sacramento River before there was a San Francisco Bay, remembered today in oral histories.

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Our Explorers Preview

This report from one of our contributors (who wishes to remain anonymous because this site is off the official trail) really expands our awareness of this particular location as we continue to wonder…

How many Volvon were here?

The Canyon Milling station sits above Los Vaqueros Reservoir.

Now adding 12 bedrock mortars to our original count of 30. Essentially, probably another permanent village site.


A flint knapping expert and I took a lower route on the way into the Canyon Milling station because we missed the upper road. It worked great, at first, then dense brush and we had to regain altitude that we would ultimately descend through again.

Its only in this Google Earth view that I realize these sites over the Canyon Milling station weren’t found before because they are above the main road in, which is faintly visible in the background.

This day involved bewilderment, being semi-lost, redemption, exhaustion, and I hope I have many more days like it.

We stumbled onto 8 brms at the uppermost site. Seven on two adjacent rocks and one shallow nearby. Many burnt dead trees down, so possibly more hidden brms. Difficult to photograph these mortars in the shade.

Upon realizing the Canyon site was further down, we encountered 4 more brims and some cupules on a bedrock ridge with great views. Although difficult to see, one shallow mortar had an array of cupules around it.

I recall there is a diamond like configuration of cupules down near Los Vaqueros reservoir on the way in.

The Canyon Milling site is still fairly open, the poison oak is starting back low.

Bob, lemme know when you wanna visit, I feel drawn to further exploration of this area.



Go to and click on any fire for more photos and info.

Please note the incredible array of Volvon sites in the Black Hills.

Windy Point – Danville

9 bedrock mortars with spectacular views in every direction.

This great hike starts right here on Mount Diablo.
The hill top in the distance is Windy Point.

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Bob enters the camp site.

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A nice selection of bedrock mortars.

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Heather holds a possible broken metate.

The sacred mountain is right there.

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Go to and download our GoogleEarth map.
Click on the individual fires for photos and text.

Chitactac – Gilroy

75 Bedrock Mortars



Chitactac-Adams Heritage County Park.

This beautiful and culturally significant 4.5 acre park site is located just minutes from the cities of Gilroy and Morgan Hill.

The park features the beautiful Uvas Creek and a wealth of cultural artifacts including bedrock mortars and petroglyphs left by the native people who occupied the area for thousands of years.

The park includes a self-guided interpretive walk and an interpretive shelter focusing on tribal culture which was located on this property for who knows how long.


Two distinct bedrock mortars in a hand crafted basin


Interpretive signage


Ohlone Life at Chitactac A six minute video

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Click on the fires for more info and photos

Rush Ranch- Suisun City

Rush Ranch on Grizzly Island- Suisun City


26 Bedrock Mortars

A Bay Area Rock Art Research Association (BARARA) group heads for the site. Mount Diablo looms in the near distance.







A back porch collection of portable mortars, pestles, and tools at Suisun Creek Village right upstream. Almost every early pioneer’s ranch and farm was built on the best Native American Indian sites.




Long Canyon and Marsh Creek Brentwood

53 bedrock mortars, 29 on one rock.

The location of this site near the mouth of Hog Canyon meant that this was a “gatehouse” settlement guarding one of the principal routes into the Volvon heartland. This was one of the very few bedrock mortar sites known to early 20th century Contra Costa County historians.

This site is just off Marsh Creek Road on private property. Be respectful.

Yes. It’s right there.

Long Canyon

We think a nice little village was located in the meadow right below.


How old is this ancient site?



A handsome mortar plug, peeled back.


Another bunch of mortars down in Marsh Creek.

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The Volvon Tribe ruled this area for 10’s of centuries.

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For more information and directions to our GoogleEarth kmz map

with photos and descriptions of every site

Chinese Tree of Heaven – Hayward

18 bedrock mortars (including 5 bowl mortars), 3 metates, 2 cupules, incised rocks, rock rectangles, rock walls, and rock-lined pathways. Part of the unbelievable complex of sites on Walpert Ridge.

The Chinese Tree of Heaven tree (Ailanthus altissima) was introduced to California by the Chinese during the Gold Rush. The presence of this tree along with the dry-laid masonry skill apparent in a few of the rock enclosures near the power tower points to a Chinese presence here in the relatively recent past.

We believe the Yrgin or other Ohlones constructed most of the rock walls and enclosures found here. We believe these walls and enclosures had ceremonial functions.

This site lies right beneath the power pole.


A fantastic bowl mortar


This is a rock lined path to a prayer circle


This partially ruined stacked rock rectangle stands near the headwaters of a tributary of Dry Creek


The view across the South Bay


The Walpert complex is mostly land banked by the East Bay Regional Park District, scheduled to be opened to the public sometime in the hopefully immediate future.


11 Bedrock Mortars off Fairview Avenue in Hayward

part of the Five Canyons neighborhood.

A new Site for us thanks to an Intrepid Explorer.

Read “Our Perspective” on private property at the bottom.


Start here



No “Keep Out” signs. You just have to know where to go, down the canyon


We couldn’t find the 20 mortar boulder we were told was there. Next Time!



A beautiful setting in a gorgeous canyon.



Our Perspective

Perspective on Ancient Native American Sites on Public and Private Property

Because there are so few remaining sites, they all are special and important.

The powers that be want the general public to not feel any connection to or show any interest in them
since that will just interfere with the plans of private property owners, developers, and managers of public agencies.

To that end there has been a coordinated, calculated, clandestine arrangement to downplay and obscure
public interest and involvement in the California Native American story.

It has worked! The vast majority of the population couldn’t care less about a few bedrock mortars scattered around
here and there, and knows little of the 10,000 year old civilization that preceded our conquest a mere 250 years ago.

This lack of interest is an impediment to our contemporary societal growth and understanding of history and our place in it.

When you sit on a mortar rock and look around, you can begin to understand and connect.

Our recent discovery of this 30 mortar Jalquin Ohlone Indian site in the Hayward hills is a fine example.
Tucked into a little canyon, surrounded by private property, it is an ideal location for recognition as an important remnant village.

This place is not like the “ghost towns” of the wild west that might be 150 years old.
It could be thousands of years old, continuously occupied.
Virtually no one knows it is even there.

Martin House – Suisun City

92 bedrock mortars

AKA Stonedene National Register #77000349


Samuel Martin constructed this house in 1861 on the site of a Suisun Patwin village.


Martin met an aging Sem Yeto, the American Indian also called Chief Solano, who at the time lived in Suisun Valley after being forced off his traditional village.


Martin’s obituary described Martin and Chief Solano as being “on the best of terms” and added that Solano’s grave is across the road from Stonedene.

Martin is said to have helped bury Solano under a tree in 1850.

Chief Solano is the county’s namesake.


“It’s rare that you find land that so eloquently speaks to almost every significant period of time for our state,” says Solano Historical Society President Elissa DeCaro. “I love Stonedene,” DeCaro said. “It’s such a special place.”

DeCaro talks enthusiastically not only about the house, but the grounds that were the site of a major Patwin village.

DeCaro and others would like to see the house and its grounds purchased for public use.


The Martin House has recently been the stuff of controversies, with people clashing over what are necessary updates to the property and what damages its historical integrity.

Due to pending litigation, it may be fenced off.

Ryan’s Hideaway – Hayward

24 bedrock mortars.

Part of the fantastic array of sites on Walpert Ridge.

This site is named in honor of Ryan the Cowboy, who has kicked us off the ridge several times when we accidentally strayed onto private property. He pointed this location out to us one day when we were heading for the Chinese Tree of Heaven site.

Being tucked away in a little hollow amid sheltering trees gives this site a “hideaway” feel. Look for more mortars on and around the little hill that rises on the righthand side of the creek bed.


Bob holds a massive pestle just laying on the ground there.



Junior admires the rim, depth, and machined interior of this beauty.


Bob refers to this type as a “high low”.


Download our Google Earth kmz map to get more concise directions.

Although we never have, we recommend getting permission to visit this site.


Linda Yamane


Linda Yamane is a major league artist, basket weaver, and California Indian spokesperson/leader.

Google Linda Yamane Paintings to view some of her art.

Her text below probably also reflects the life of the Volvon Tribe for many thousands of years and whose tribal territory around Mount Diablo is still more or less intact.

The Association of Ramaytush Ohlone recently began re-enlivening a piece of land in San Gregorio on the Peninsula in collaboration with the Peninsula Open Space Trust.


Written by Lindas Yamane, April 2019

Like their other Ohlone counterparts, the Ramaytush speaking people of the San Francisco Peninsula lived comfortably on the land in a network of small villages.

Though speaking a common language, they were organized into several tribal units, each under the leadership of its own captain and living within its own territorial boundaries. These groups typically varied in size from fifty to five hundred people, living among three to five permanent villages and several seasonal camps. The local Aramai people of nearby Pruristac and Timigtac villages numbered as few as fifty or sixty people, and seem to have been organized into two smaller independent bands, rather than the typical multi-village tribe.

Ohlone life was centered on the natural world, family, and community. From childhood they began learning the skills they would use throughout life. Everyone had an array of abilities, but some were recognized for their special talents. One might be an exceptional hunter or fisherman, respected for keeping the village well supplied. Another might make the best bows, arrows, fish spears, rabbit nets, or shell beads. Perhaps they were an exceptional singer or regalia maker. Some women were renowned basket makers, sought after for elaborate ceremonial baskets, or baby cradles. Another could be famous for her beautiful feathered belts or ear ornaments.

From land and sea, stream and sky, the Ramaytush enjoyed a vast variety of nutritious foods. While the men hunted and fished, women focused on gathering plants used for food, medicines, and basketry. Menus included fish, seaweeds, marine mammals, waterfowl and other birds, as well as land mammals both large and small. Deer, elk, salmon and rabbits were among their favorites. Abalone, mussels, clams, and other shellfish were gathered from the seashore, while meadows and woodlands supplied fresh greens, wild blackberries and strawberries, nutritious bulbs and tubers, and a variety of protein-rich nuts and seeds.

Food was plentiful and the people were competent, but an experienced and respected leader was important for the organization, safety and well being of the group. The headman advised on the proper times to gather and store important plant foods or relocate to seasonal gathering sites. He also had the authority to resolve conflicts, whether within the tribe itself or with neighboring groups. He alone might have more than one wife, due to the heavy responsibility of providing foods, regalia, gifts, payments and other necessities at ceremonial events and inter-tribal gatherings. He and his family had special social status, but that status came with great responsibility and a serious commitment of service to their community.

The Ohlone world of the past was also rich in supernatural meaning and ritual, with shamans and healers, shape shifters, and others who specialized in the mystical matters of their everyday world.

Our favorite Gregg Castro quote from News from Native California

“The people came into the world, and they have been an integral part of it since the dawn of time. _
Though much has been lost in the last two-and-a-half centuries, the knowledge lies deep within each of us. _
Like a mountain stream, it eventually works its way back to the surface. Knowledge, wisdom, courage, truth, love, strength, respect, forgiveness, integrity, patience, humility, – they all are bubbling out to quench our thirst,”