Chaw’ se

On the fourth day of my Highway 49 road trip I headed off the highway to night in the historic town of Volcano in the equally historic three story hotel the St. George. One of the reasons I headed off the highway was to visit Indian Grinding Rock State Park or Chaw-se as the native Miwok call it.

I had seen chaw’se or grinding rocks at Coloma before. These mortars which were grinded into stone were used by native peoples to grind acorns into a fine powder. Each depression took generations to create. Each hole could take over a century of work.

I was now looking over the largest concentrations of grinding rocks in North America. There are 1,185 mortar holes in this State Park.

I walked over to the ceremonial roundhouse, which is still in use by the native people of California. I sketched the structure along with the life-giving valley oak.

The roundhouse was the center of Miwok life and this roundhouse was constructed in 1974.

On my way out I sketched thew beautifully rusted stature of a Miwok dance by J. L. Plamondon which is: “Dedicated to the First People of California”.

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