Plains Miwok

The traditional Plains Miwok language area is on the eastern side of the Sacramento River from near Sacramento in the north to Rio Vista in the south and eastward to the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. In pre-contact times, there were an estimated 19,500 speakers of Plains Miwok, Saclan, and Central, Northern, and Southern Sierra Miwok together (Levy 1978). In the 21st century, there are no first-language speakers of Plains Miwok (Golla 2011). However, tribal members and language activists have been pursuing language revitalization and reclamation. Plains Miwok is a Miwokan language; the others members of this family are Central Sierra Miwok, Coast Miwok, Lake Miwok, Northern Sierra Miwok, Saclan, and Southern Sierra Miwok. The Miwokan languages comprise one branch of the hypothesized Penutian language family, within which they form a subgroup with the Ohlone languages (Awaswas, Chalon, Chochenyo, Karkin, Mutsun, Ramaytush, Rumsen, and Tamyen). Penutian includes, in addition, Klamath-Modoc, the Maiduan languages (Konkow, Maidu, and Nisenan), the Wintuan languages (Nomlaki, Patwin, and Wintu), and the Yokuts languages.

Selected archival materials at Berkeley

Selected materials in other archives

Further reading

  • Bennyhoff, James Allan. 1961. The ethnogeography of the Plains Miwok. Davis, CA: Center for Archeological Research at Davis.
  • Callaghan, Catherine A. 1984. Plains Miwok dictionary. Berkeley: University of California Press.
  • Golla, Victor. 2011. California Indian languages. Berkeley: University of California Press.
  • Levy, Richard. 1978. Eastern Miwok. In Robert F. Heizer (ed.), California, 398-413. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution.