The Sonoma Coast has a rich history of indigenous peoples who have inhabited the region for thousands of years. The native tribes primarily associated with this area are the Coast Miwok and the Southern Pomo.

Coast Miwok: The Coast Miwok people were one of the major indigenous groups along the Sonoma Coast. They resided in villages and communities scattered throughout the coastal and inland areas of what is now Marin and Sonoma Counties. The Coast Miwok people had a deep connection to the land and sea, relying on the abundant natural resources for sustenance, including fish, shellfish, acorns, and other plants. They were skilled basket weavers and created intricate and beautiful baskets using local

Coast Miwok
The Miwok possessed an extraordinarily detailed understanding of the resources that were available to them and they passed this knowledge down from generation to generation. Plant foods were generally collected and processed by women while men trapped, fished and hunted. All resources were used with care and thanksgiving so they would continue to be available, and they were used fully. Little or nothing was wasted. For example, a plant called soap root was mashed and used not only as soap, but also to stupefy and catch fish. Its leaves were eaten fresh and the bulb could also be baked and eaten. The fibrous leaves could be dried and bundled so it could be used as a brush.

Southern PomoSouthern Pomo: The Southern Pomo people also inhabited parts of the Sonoma Coast, as well as inland regions. Their territory extended from the coast to the Russian River valley and beyond. Like the Coast Miwok, the Southern Pomo people were hunter-gatherers who utilized the diverse environments to meet their needs. They had a complex social structure, and their cultural practices were deeply tied to their connection with nature. The Pomo Indians traditionally lived in what is now northwestern California around the Clear Lake area north of San Francisco, and along the Russian River, in Lake, Mendocino, and Sonoma Counties. Today, there are about 5,000 Pomo living in several rancherias and reservations on or near the places of their origin.

The indigenous people of the Sonoma Coast lived in harmony with the land, maintaining a sustainable lifestyle and a profound understanding of the natural rhythms of the environment. They had their own languages, traditions, and spiritual beliefs, passed down through generations. Unfortunately, with the arrival of European settlers in the 19th century, the lives of the native peoples drastically changed, as they faced forced relocation, loss of land, and the devastating impact of diseases brought by the newcomers.

Today, efforts are being made to honor and preserve the heritage of the Coast Miwok and Southern Pomo peoples. Some descendants continue to live in the region and work to revitalize their languages, cultural practices, and traditional knowledge. Additionally, local organizations and communities are collaborating with native tribes to ensure that their history and contributions are recognized and celebrated in the modern context.