(FOX40.COM) — This November marks the 33rd annual National Native American Heritage Month. The Sacramento area has a number of places where the public can go to learn about the culture and traditions of the state’s and country’s first inhabitants.
Several Native tribes have been living in the Sacramento area for centuries, such as the Nisenan, the Southern Maidu, Valley and Plains Miwok, and Patwin Wintun, among others.
As Europeans made their way into California, such as the Spanish did in the 1500s and 1700s, and later gold seekers in the late 1840s, Native Californians were pushed out of their ancestral lands, sometimes leading to their deaths and the erasing of their culture.
In recent decades, California has taken steps to collect and preserve the heritage, culture and stories of the state’s first people and showcase their ongoing contributions throughout the nation.
Here are some places in the Sacramento region that hold historical information about California’s Native peoples.
State Indian Museum
•Location: 2618 K Street, Sacramento
•Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Sunday
Opened in 1940, the State Indian Museum demonstrates three major themes of life for California’s Native people: Life, Nature and Spirit.
Some items in the museum include traditional baskets, dugout redwood canoe, ceremonial regalia, beadwork and more than 2,400-year-old hunting and fishing tools.
There is also an area in the museum featuring photos of California’s Elders and an area where visitors can try out native tools.
Maidu Museum and Historic Site
•Location: 1970 Johnson Ranch Drive, Roseville
• Hours: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday through Saturday
The Maidu Museum and Historic Site in Roseville includes exhibits of traditional Native American practices like acorn processing and an outdoor network of trails that includes bedrock mortars and ancient petroglyphs from more than 3000 years ago.
The museum’s current exhibit, ‘Art as Education, Education as Art: Collected work of Artist and Educator Stan Padilla,’ was created by the United Auburn Indian Community Tribal Historic Preservation Department.
On Saturday, the museum will be holding a native craft fair from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. where handcrafted jewelry, soaps, kitchen décor and more will be for sale.
Indian Grinding Rock State Historic Park
•Location: 14881 Pine Grove Volcano Road, Pine Grove
• Hours: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Sunday
Indian Grinding Rock State Historic Park is home to the largest collection of bedrock mortars in North America with nearly 1,200 mortar holes.
The park is located in a valley about 2,400 feet above sea level with open meadows and large valley oaks that support a large population of Native tribes.
The park’s museum features a large collection of items from the Central and Southern Miwok, Maidu, Konkow, Monache, Nisenean, Tubatulabal, Washo and Foothill Yokuts.
On the vast grounds of the park, a fully recreated Miwok village complete with a ceremonial roundhouse can be found.
Local Native Americans still use the roundhouse or (hun’ge) for various ceremonies including the Big Time ceremony on the last weekend of September when native families celebrate the annual acorn gathering.
Although the Sutter Buttes are not accessible to the public they are a focal point in the central Sacramento Valley and played an important role in the spiritual lives of local Native Americans.
Before pioneers began working to control the waters of Northern California, wide-spanning floods were common throughout the region and the Sutter Buttes were a point of sanctuary for Native peoples.
The Maidu referred to the Buttes as “Hitsum Yani” which in English translates to “Middle Mountains of the Valley” or “Spirit Mountain,” according to California State Parks.
Maidu legends say that the Buttes were a resting place for spirits before they departed to the afterlife.
Those who have ventured along the ridges and peaks of the Buttes have found bedrock milling stations with several mortar holes.