The Way We Lived: California Indian Stories, Songs, and Reminiscences

Here, in their own words, indigenous voices reclaim the narrative of California Indians. Before contact, California’s Native people comprised five hundred independent tribal groups whose cultural and linguistic multiplicity expressed a sense of incalculable human richness. Reflecting that diversity, this collection of personal histories, songs, chants, and stories draws together a range of experiences from throughout the state and across generations to reveal the continuous Native presence in what is now called the Golden State. Speakers share traditional knowledge such as rites of passage, coyote tales, and dream journeys, and in equal measure they address the devastation that arrived with white people and the challenges that exist to this day—as well as the remarkable revitalization of their cultures over the past thirty years in particular. Variously funny, painful, insightful, and strikingly beautiful, The Way We Lived presents California’s original sense of itself. This updated reissue contains a new foreword by Michael Connolly Miskwish (Campo Kumeyaay Nation).

Advance Praise

“Their stories, here brilliantly illuminated by Margolin’s comments, contain beauty, humor, and wisdom.”—Harold Gilliam, San Francisco Chronicle

About the Editor

Malcolm MargolinMalcolm Margolin is the publisher emeritus of Heyday, an independent nonprofit publisher and unique cultural institution, which he founded in 1974. Margolin is author of several books, including The Ohlone Way: Indian Life in the San Francisco–Monterey Bay Area, named by the San Francisco Chronicle as one of the hundred most important books of the twentieth century by a western writer. He has received dozens of prestigious awards among which are the Chairman's Commendation from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Fred Cody Award Lifetime Achievement from the San Francisco Bay Area Book Reviewers Association, the Helen Crocker Russell Award for Community Leadership from the San Francisco Foundation, the Carey McWilliams Award for Lifetime Achievement from the California Studies Association, an Oscar Lewis Award for Western History from the Book Club of California, a Hubert Bancroft Award from Friends of the Bancroft Library, a Cultural Freedom Award from the Lannan Foundation, and a Distinguished Service Award from the Society of Professional Journalists. He helped found the Bay Nature Institute and the Alliance for California Traditional Artists.