Native Americans

The Area's First Residents

Please submit any imagery or stories regarding Native Americans in the East Bay region to

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Above: Native Americans ply the waters in their tule boat.  Tule rushes were both waterproof and lightweight, making them a good choice for baskets,  roofs, shoes and sleeping mats. (Source: C.L. Keyworth, "California Indians").

Above right: A shellmound near present-day Richmond  rises in the field in front of  Albany Hill.  Some 425 shellmounds once surrounded San Francisco Bay. (Source: Malcolm Margolin, "The Ohlone Way")

Right: Some findings of shells and bones during the 1935 excavation of the Emeryville Shellmound. According toMalcolm Margolin in his book "The Ohlone Way",  "Early archeologists hoped to unearth objects of great rarity and beauty which would grace the major museums of the world. Instead the shellmounds of the Bay Area surrendered only clam shells, bits of mortars and pestles, stone arrowheads bone awls and human skeletons."

Native Americans began populating the area we know today as the East Bay about 5,000 years ago. The Ohlone tribe hunted along creeks in the hills of Oakland and the surrounding towns.

Elsewhere in the world:
Five thousand years ago, an unknown Sumerian writer had just composed the first-known written legend "Gilgamesh."
Five thousannd years ago, the Egyptians had just united the northern and southern kingdoms under the pharoh Menes and founded the town of Memphis, but they had yet to erect the pyramids.
Five thousand years ago, a spacious earthen ring or henge stood on what we call Salisbury Plain, but Welsh bluestone would not replace Stonehenge's wooden posts for another 800 years.

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