01a Indian basketry

Archaeologists have determined that humans have lived in our Mendocino County area for more than 14,000 years.  The most recent indigenous First Nation people are known today as the Northern Pomo. Their historical territory in Northern California was large, bordered by the Pacific Coast to the west, extending inland to Clear Lake, and mainly between Cleone on the north and Jenner on the south.   The Pomo made and used tools fashioned from common materials including local rock and volcanic obsidian from the Clear Lake area. The Pomo also used bird feathers and seashells for tools as well as ornamentation.  

While most settlements were on the coast or in the nearby valleys, the Pomo would travel between the coast and interior, passing through the immense old growth redwood forests. Pomo hunters and foragers would set up short-term, seasonal camps at points along their journey, and it is not uncommon to find obsidian arrowheads in our coastal forests.  The Pomo also used the large redwood trees for building materials, and wove tree bark into cloth to make clothing.

Pomo basketry is prized for its tight woven coils of plant and the Museum is fortunate to have several Pomo artifacts.

The Museum offers a free Pomo trail map, and has audio clips of native Pomo language which are beautifully spoken by Pomo people and available for listening at the museum.