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Northern California Backcountry

Native American Life



Northern California mountain ranges have been a temperate rainforest for hundreds of thousands of years. Since back when dinosaurs roamed the land, and the Pacific Ocean actually filled in much of the Central Valley making the Northern Mountain ranges beachfront property, the northern reaches of the state have had their own unique bio-climates. This climate shaped the earliest human life in Northern California, and continues to shape life there today in many of the same ways. What materials you build your house of, the type of clothing you wear, the food you eat - these are all factors in a lifeway shaped by the natural environment.

Native American life in these mountains has been a continuous thread of habitation for at least 6,000 years. The landscape, the climate, and the people have formed a different lifeway than elsewhere in California, and we will study the Shasta tribe as an example of these temperate rainforest peoples in this learning unit.

There have been many tribes living in this region for many generations. To help us study the life of Native Americans in the Northern California Backcountry, we will focus on different aspects of Shasta tribal living to learn more about their ways of life.


The Shasta