Who Are The Coast Miwok of Today?
We are the families of the displaced Miwoks (see below). Our families were driven off of the ancestrial land that had been in our families for thousands of years. Our Families lived in peace for many thousands of years on the land (now known as Marin), but that all changed in the mid-1800s, and in a matter of 20 years, our ancestors were forced and driven from our ancestrial land (or killed), the Land of Nicasio, Olompali, San Rafael, Corte Madera ...
Olompali and Nicasio
After Mission San Rafael closed during the 1834-1836 period, the Mexican government deeded most of the land to Californios, but allowed the Indians ex-neophytes to own land at two locations within traditional Coast Miwok territory: Olompali and Nicasio.
The Coast Miwok leader Camilo Ynitia, secured a land grant of 2 sq. leagues known as Rancho Olompali, from Governor Micheltorena of Alta California in 1843, which included the prehistoric Miwok village of Olompali (his home village) and is north of present-day Novato.
The village of Olompali dates back to thousands of years, had been a main center in 1200, and might have been the largest native village in Marin County. Ynitia held onto the Rancho Olompoli land title for 9 years, but in 1852 he sold most of the land to James Black of Marin. He retained 1,480 acres (6.0 km2) called Apalacocha. His daughter eventually sold Apalacocha.
The other Indian-owned rancho was at Rancho Nicasio northwest of San Rafael. Near the time of secularization (1835), the Church granted the San Rafael Christian Indians 20 leagues (80,000 acres, 320 km²) of mission lands from present-day Nicasio to the Tomales Bay. About 500 Indians relocated to Rancho Nicasio. By 1850 they had but one league of land left. This radical reduction of land was a result of illegal confiscation of land by non-Indians under protest by Indian residents. In 1870, José Calistro, the last community leader at Nicasio, purchased the small surrounding parcel. Calistro died in 1875, and in 1876 the land was transferred by his will to his four children. In 1880 there were 36 Indian people at Nicasio. The population was persuaded to leave in the 1880s when Marin County curtailed funds to all Indians (except those at Marshall) who were not living at the Poor Farm, a place for "indigent" peoples.
By the early 20th century, a few Miwok families pursued fishing for their livelihoods; one family continued commercial fishing into the 1970s, while another family maintained an oyster harvesting business. When this activity was neither in season nor profitable, Indian people of this area sought agricultural employment, which required an itinerant lifestyle. The preferred locality for such work was within Marin and Sonoma counties.