Mi-Wuk

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The Death of Princess Katrinka
STOCKTON REC ORD December 25, 1936

 

Of Royal Indian blood, Princess Catherine Wilson, 98, who spent nearly a century in Calaveras County, was found dead beside a trail to her cabin Wednesday morning. When her familiar figure was not seen patiently plodding about her Happy Valley home where she was born, neighbors searched for her, to find her body slumped to the ground. A gentle rain was falling when searchers came upon her body. Mrs. Wilson, the last of her clan … and daughter of a chief, was given the old Indian name of Katrinka by which she was known there. She was born in Happy Valley in 1838.

Image of Settlement and Subsistance
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Settlement and Subsistance
By Far Western Anthropological Research Group, Inc. Davis, 2009.

Regardless of when the Mi-Wuk arrived in central California, the first non-natives entering the area found a well-established society of hunters, fishermen, and plant-food gatherers whose territory stretched from the edge of the San Joaquin Valley to the high elevations of the Sierra Nevada. This wide topographic and vegetative range provided the native people with all manner of foods: antelope, elk, rabbit, salmon, waterfowl, and valley-oak acorns in the lowest zone; deer, rabbit, salmon, valley quail, gray pine nuts, and blue- and live-oak acorns in the foothills; and, at higher elevations, deer, squirrel, trout, mountain quail, pigeons, sugar-pine nuts, and black-oak acorns 1 (p.10). Acorns were particularly important and, according to Heizer and Elsasser, “the [ethnographic-period] Sierra Mi-Wuk carefully preserved the oak trees from which they annually gathered their staple food” 2(p.23).

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Native American Settlement of Avery

Although ethnographic Native American sites have not been specifically recorded for Avery, there is ample evidence of villages in the area. C. Hart Merriam, visiting the area ca. 1905, mentioned the village of Yoong’-ah-ko-te, located one mile below Avery. According to the Kelsey Census of Native Americans, there were 50 Me-Wuk in residence in Avery in 1905-1906. Taber records a population of 60 persons at a “rancheria” located at Avery in 1911.

Commands