Click on the map of California to see where the Bay Miwok were located

Lesson 1: The Land

Lesson 1
The Land
Lesson 2
Lesson 3
Lesson 4
Hunting &

Lesson 5
Clothing & Appearance
Lesson 6
Ceremonies & Beliefs
Lesson 7
Leadership & Trading
Lesson 8
Final Project

Student Guide


Read the information about The Land

Look at all pictures on this page.
Be sure to click on any links or words that are underlined.

Find the answers to the following research questions.
Write your answers on
Student Worksheet 1

1.When did the Bay Miwok live in Contra Costa County?

2. What does the name Miwok mean?

3. What three tribes once lived in Contra Costa County?

4. What were the names of the five Bay Miwok tribelets in Contra Costa County?

5. Look at the map of Native Americans of Contra Costa County below. What tribelet lived near the city you live in?


Extend your thinking! Click on
the activity below:
What Tribelet Lived in Your City?


The Land


Contra Costa County was the home to many California Indians. This area was ideal because the land had so much to offer. The hills, valleys, bays, and creeks were filled with a huge variety of plants and animals, giving the Indians all the food and materials that they needed to survive. They built their homes by the creeks, hunted in the valleys and worshipped on the mountain.

The Indians of Contra Costa County belonged to different tribal groups but their lifestyles, leadership and culture were very similar.

Over two hundred years ago three tribes once populated what is now Contra Costa County. They were the Miwoks, the Yokuts and the Ohlone (also known as the Costanoans). Within each of these tribes smaller groups called tribelets existed. Tribelets ranged in size from 40 to 200 members. Each tribelet lived within their own territory. The territories for each tribelet were usually divided at the tops of ridges and were only crossed for trading and celebrations.

The Indians of East and Central Contra Costa County were the Miwok. Miwok means people. Since the Miwok area covers the territory from here to Yosemite, they were called the Bay Miwok, meaning people of the bay.

Five tribelets of Bay Miwok have been indentified. They are the Saclan, Chupcan, Volvon, Julpun, and Tatcan tribelets. The name of each tribelet came from the location of their village site.

The Saclan tribelet were those living in Rossmoor, Lafayette, Moraga, Walnut Creek and two sites in Concord.

A small tribelet of Chupcan lived along the streams in Concord which flowed north to the wide tule marshes on the edge of the Bay and into the Pittsburg and Black Diamond areas.

The large tribelet of Volvon lived in villages near the caves, peaks and creeks of the east side of Mt. Diablo, the town of Clayton and the Clayton Valley area of Concord.

The Julpun tribelet lived in the delta areas east of Antioch in the Oakley and Brentwood areas, they were know as fishermen.

The Tatcan tribelet lived in Danville, parts of the San Ramon Valley and controlled the western part of Mt. Diablo.

In east Contra Costa County where Byron stands today the Cholbones of the Yokut Tribe lived.

The Ohlones lived along the bay. The Carquin tribelet lived on both sides of the Carquinez Strait, which was named after them. Martinez through Pinole was their homeland.



The hills of Contra Costa County provided the Bay Miwok with everthing they needed to survive

This map shows the locations of the Miwok tribes in California

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