Monday, November 05, 2007

California Historical Landmark #1001

Jack and I visited this landmark with his cub scout den while we were staying overnight at Indian Grinding Rock State Park.

Chaw'Se Roundhouse
California State Historical Landmark #1001

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This landmark is located in Chaw'Se Indian Grinding Rock State Historic Park, 14881 Pine Grove/Volcano Road, Pine Grove, California in Amador County. There are 24 other California State Historical Landmarks in Amador County. The GPS coordinates for this location are N 38° 25.490 W 120° 38.474.

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In a village, the roundhouse served as the center of ceremonial and social life. Constructed in 1974, the Chaw se' roundhouse continues this tradition. With its door facing the east, towards the rising sun, four large oaks are the focal point of this sixty-foot-in-diameter structure. Today ceremonial roundhouses are the most significant architectural manifestation of the continuing Miwok spiritual heritage.

Roundhose - Hun'ge

The semi-subterranean assembly and dance house was the largest structure in the principal village or capital of the tribelet and was owned by the headman.

The sacred hun'ge was the community center for dances, meetings, social gatherings, and religious ceremonies; it is analogous to churches and other houses of worship.

The construction and care of the roundhouse was guided by ritual and great moral obligation that only a headman or "captain" could bera; therefore, roundhouses were either destroyed or abandoned after the death of their owners.

The four large center poles and beams support the roof, and thus are important structurally, but they are also important spiritually.

Near the rear wall and between the two rear poles is the foot drum tu'mma. Traditionally, a half section of a hollow oak log was placed over a pit and stamped upon by the drummer to set the rhythm for the dancers.

In the old days the hun'ge was 40 or 50 feet in diameter with a earth covered roof.

The hun'ge here at Chaw'se has the essential features common to traditional roundhouses, and is actively used throughout the year by the Native American community.

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