|Native American Farming
When you spend a day at the Indian Grinding Rock State Historic Park,
you take a step back in time. This 135-acre park, nestled in the Sierra
Nevada foothills, tells the tale of the Miwok people. Ranger Curt Kraft
explains, "There's no other place in North America that you can visit
that has a spot like this with so many mortar holes in one location. What
we have here is a huge outdoor kitchen. This is a food processing area
where the Native People for thousands of years used the grinding rock
to process acorns and other seeds into a useable food."
It is believed that acorns were the main food staple for three-fourths
of the Native Americans in California. While the men were off hunting
for deer, the women gathered the acorns and ground them up on a large
outcropping of marbleized limestone. Today, visitors can see over a thousand
mortar holes in the grinding rock.
While most Native Americans used acorns as their main food supply, some
tribes did rely on crop production. One example is the Mojave tribe that
lived in a desert area along the lower Colorado River. This tribe grew
corn, squash, and beans on land flooded by the river.
Much of the knowledge from the early Native American way of life is still
being used today. With parks such as the Grinding Rock, you can be sure
that the past is being preserved to educate and enlighten future generations.
Indian Grinding Rock State Historic Park is located at:
14881 Pine Grove-Volcano Road
Pine Grove, CA 95665
For more information, visit www.sierra.parks.state.ca.us.