remembering the coast miwok native american tribe

A Lasting Tribute To A Forgotten Tribe

One woman’s quest to commemorate her ancestors

“This story starts probably around 10,000 years ago,” says Lucina Vidauri—although it was much more recently that it occurred to Vidauri that although there were a number of commemorative statues around Marin County and the San Francisco Bay Area, where she lives—including statues of the explorer Sir Francis Drake and of natural features and animals such as the seals that are common in the area—there were no monuments to the Native Americans of Marin County, in particular the Coast Miwok tribe to which Vidauri and her ancestors—including her grandmother (pictured, on the right)—belonged.

“I go back seven generations that I know of,” Vidauri told Good Turns recently. “Although I go back thousands of generations, DNA-wise. It goes back about seven generations to talk about. My great-great-grandfather was the last chief of Marin County.” But Vidauri is one of the few Coast Miwoks left, so it was important to her to find some way to commemorate her people.

My ancestors are traced back thousands of years, and they technically and really are gone—this is it

So Vidauri, who works as a legal clerk, began devoting time to making the project a reality. She pushed forward with the idea of a statue, and found an artist—the scupltor Will Pettee, who has launched a GoFundMe page to raise money to make a maquette of the proposed sculpture, a model that will then be used to raise funds to finish and install the work. “He did a mockup of it and brought it to me, and I fell in love with it. He just did an amazing job,” Vidauri said.

“My ancestors are traced back thousands of years, and they technically and really are gone—this is it,” she said. The plan is to offer the statue as a donation to the city of Sausalito, which lies just north of San Francisco across the Golden Gate Bridge. “I just think it’ll do a lot for the Marin County community.”

“People in Marin Country are not familiar with Coast Miwoks, who they were, where they were, or where they went,” she says. To help rectify that, Vidauri maintains a Facebook page on the southern Coast Miwok of Marin, as well as one in support of the monument project.

Regardless of how long it takes the statue to become a reality, maintaining a presence for the Coast Miwoks on Facebook has already had unexpected benefits, Vidauri says: “I thought I was the last family. But since I’ve posted this page, in the last two months, the sister of my great-great-grandfather, her descendants came forward. So I have all these new cousins, and new photos that they’ve been providing.”

While raising money for such a project isn’t exactly a sure thing, Vidauri is pressing on. “I’m getting obstacles, of course, the people who think it can’t be done,” she said. “But everything has been really smooth up to this point. Marin County has a lot of nice things, but they need this history.” Here’s hoping they get it. If Vidauri proves as tireless as she sounds, it seems likely they will.

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