Native Americans of San Francisco Solano
California's last mission reached far into the native lands along the California coastline, and the territory north and east of Sonoma, to recruit and take native americans into Mission San Francisco Solano.
The neophytes from this mission were primarily members of the Coast Miwok , Lake Miwok, Pomo, Wappo and Patwin tribes. These Indians were hunter - gatherers. Stephen Power's 1877 report, The Tribes of California, contained a captivating image of Acorn Granaries in a Miwok Village.
The Coast Miwok territory covered present day Marin and adjacent parts of Sonoma County. The Lake Miwok lived in villages south of Clear Lake, California's largest freshwater lake. The Wappo were a small tribe whose land included a few square miles on the South edge of Clear Lake and a relatively isolated strip of land between the Southern Pomo and Patwin lands. The Pomo were a significant northern California group of Indians who spoke "seven distinct and mutually exclusive languages" and occupied land around and inland from Fort Bragg, Mendocino and Ukiah, and parts of the territory around Clear Lake.
Researchers have found that San Rafael and San Francisco Solano together baptized "at least 600 Pomoans." The Patwin territory extended in a roughly 40 mile wide and 90 mile long swath (from south to north) just below and north of present day Sonoma.1
A Patwin Chief from the Suisunes tribe, Chief Solano, became a friend and ally of General Mariano Vallejo, who was in charge of the Northern Frontier of Alta California during the years that Mexico governed Alta California. Chief Solano's native name was Sem-Yeto (meaning brave or fierce hand). He was a tall, charismatic Indian. Beginning in about 1835, Chief Solano formed an alliance with General Vallejo, helping keep peace in the area until the American takeover of Alta California (1846-48). 2
Chief Solano was one of only two natives to receive a land grant from the Mexican government. The land he acquired in 1842, known as Rancho Suisun, was four square leagues (about 12 square miles). Unfortunately his heirs were unable to retain the land.3
- 1. "Coast Miwok" by Isabel Kelly pp 414-425; "Lake Miwok" by Catherine A. Callaghan pp 264-273; "Pomo: Introduction" by Salley (SALLEY?) McLendon and Robert L. Oswalt pp 274-288; Western Pomo and Northeastern Pomo" by Lowell John Bean and Dorothea Theodoratus pp 289-305; "Wappo" by Jesse O. Sawyer pp 256-263; "Patwin" by Patti J. Johnson pp. 350-360" in Volume 8 CALIFORNIA of Handbook of North American Indians, Smithsonian Institute: Washington D.C., 1978
- 2. Tribes of California by Stephen Powers, U.S. Geographical and Geological Survey of the Rocky Mountain Region, Washington D.C., 1877
- 3. "Chief Solano" in Wikipedia See http:en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chief¬_Solano