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Basin and California Tribes: MIWOK

The Miwok Language is part of the Penutian Language Family. The structure of the Miwok is patrilineal. At puberty boys went on a hunt. At menarche, many taboos were placed on girls. Those taboos also held true for pregnancy. A girl was not allowed to play with poppies, for fear that their breasts may grow dry of milk (poppies were a common sign of sterility in many cultures). A woman was not allowed to eat woodpecker for fear that it makes a baby cry a lot. A woman was not allowed to eat woodrat for fear that a sharp crest might appear on the baby's head. A woman was not allowed to eat salmon for fear that salmon caused sores on the baby's head. A woman was not allowed to eat cantelope, for fear that it caused pimples, rashes or sores. During menstruation women went to a menstrual hut. During the time of menstruation, her husband was forbidden to hunt. Childbirth also takes place in the same hut. They dig a hole in the ground. During the birth the husband sat in the sweathouse. The mother is not allowed to eat meat until the umbilical cord falls off her child. If a woman has had three children, each child after that could be killed at birth.

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Back to Societies: North America
Miwok Links
Coast Miwok Indians
Miwok Indians of Yosemite
Miwok Information
Miwok-Yokut Raids into Mexican California, 1830-1840
Penutian Language Family

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Last updated 12.7.2014