Brushy Peak – Livermore

According to Jakki Kehl, Mutsun Ohlone

Brushy Peak is the only remaining sacred site in the greater East Bay that is still intact.

It has never been developed, nor has it ever had a trail or road built on its upper slopes.

Brushy Peak is recognized as a location where Coyote, the Creator, left a footprint.

The north side of Brushy Peak is currently only accessible through Livermore Parks and Rec.

It was, and continues to be, recognized as a sacred birthplace of the world. In one narrative, the supernatural being Condor roosted on a rock, his wife. When the rock became very hot, it burst and from it came Falcon. Falcon straightaway became chief.

Falcon with his grandfather Coyote, made the world safe for humans, then created people, establishing the names and locations of the people’s villages.

Ranger Pat Sotelo conducts outstanding tours. Here he is in one of many caves featuring bedrock mortars.

Brushy Peak is visible from great distance, and can be seen from the valley floor east of Tracy.

Most of the area lies within traditional Ohlone territory. It is mentioned in creation stories for the Northern valley Yokuts, Southern Sierra Miwoks and Bay Miwoks.

We call this rock “the falcon and the fetus” It could be many thousands of years old.

The peak and its environs have been recognized as sacred by generations of native Californians.

Due to its geographical position, the area lies at the center of a network of ancient trade routes that linked Bay Area Ohlones, Bay Miwoks, and Northern Valley Yokuts, who were drawn to the area for economic, social, and ceremonial events.

The Ssaoam triblet of the Ohlone peoples was probably the most closely linked to the Brushy Peak area, living in the surrounding dry hills and tiny valleys around the peak and nearby Altamont Pass.

Ssaoam populations in the dry summer months may have dispersed and reconverged at various camps throughout the year. The triblet hosted trade feasts near Brushy Peak, acting as brokers in a regional trade network with the Volvons, a tribelet of the Bay Miwok, and the Tamcans of the Northern Valley Yokuts.

The Ssaoam’s ability to prosper may have had as much to do with their occupying this strategic trading location as with their ability to use the area’s food and limited water resources.

Post Office Rock. Apparently this area was home to one of the most important trading centers in central California. Artifacts from all over the western states have been uncovered here.

Bushy Peak and Mount Diablo are integral to several California Indian versions of creation stories.

In one of these stories, the world is covered with water except at one rocky high spot where a condor roosts and begins a chain of events that leads to the creation of other animals and humans.

“Mount Diablo is a sacred place, too, but it’s already been damaged by a road and building at the top,” Kehl said. “We shouldn’t damage Brushy Peak.”

The park district agreed to put up trail signs saying “contemporary Native peoples still regard Brushy Peak as a special place and prefer that it not be visited.” Kehl dismissed the signs as inadequate.

This surreal landscape is dotted with caves and food processing bedrock mortars.

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