The Salinan People



Before I begin, and on a personal note, I want to say that is is a shame how the Missionaries hid

so much of the history of these great people and it is recorded that they contributed to the fall of

their culture is a great tragedy in history.  This is dedicated to the memory of a great people that

once roamed the hills and forest around what is now called Paso Robles, a place they called

 "Hot Springs."   Benford Standley

The Salinas Valley - Salinas River goes back in geological time 175 million years and the

Jurassic Period...more change during the Cretaceous Period-Great area of salt marsh, then

the Rocky Mountains began to form.  During the Pleistocene Epoch 1,000 millennia ago

mountains were much higher...the great erosion carved out the present form of the

mountains and deposited much of the silt in the northern area of the Salinas Valley...

drainage poured into the Monterey Bay and deep canyons run into the sea...Time moves

and Salinas Valley again is under water...time passes, land forms then came the Salinas

group of Indians....

Petrified Sand Dollar

This is a Whale Bone found near Paso Robles...


Whale bones at the Pioneer Museum found near Paso Robles


Let it be said that the record shows that the People of the Salinan Valley and River where here before recorded time...these Native peoples of Central California have populated the lands around the current town of Paso Robles for at least the past 10,000 years, and sure they are  The initial inhabitants belonged to what has been

called the Obispeno Chumash, archaeological finds include chert stone tool flakes, obsidian projectile points, mortars and pestles.


Baptized into Extinction

Research has established extensive trade routes to other areas in what is now the Western USA. The most recent original inhabitants (5000 years ago) are from the Migueleno Salinan culture. Permanent settlements existed in the general area as shown on maps by Robert O. Gibson, displayed at the Paso Robles Pioneer Museum. One such settlement, Tixja, is located on the map approximately 7 miles southeast of the San Miguel Mission - that would place it near where the current Paso Robles airport is located. Mission records indicate 50 baptisms occurred at this settlement.

San Miguel Mission records mention a Chumash village known as Ksosquiquie or alternately as Santa Ysabel. Twenty six people from that village were baptized between 1790 and 1804. The exact location of this village has not been determined, other than it has been described by Gibson as being just north of Atascadero. It is not clear if this village was located on the current Santa Ysabel Ranch Development property, but based on recent finds (see below) that is a possibility.

Archaeological surveys conducted in 1999/2002 on neighboring Santa Ysabel Ranch Development identified 14 prehistoric sites containing abundant evidence of the presence of native peoples on that parcel. Radiocarbon dating indicates that occupation of these sites date back to approximately 9,000 YBC (Years Before Current). An occupation that lasted (probably off and on) through the Mission Period. This makes the Santa Ysabel site among the oldest known in Central California. The early people are classified as belonging to the Millingstone Period (10,000 - 5,500 YBC), later occupations are allocated to the Early Period (5,500 - 2,600 YBC) and the Middle Period (2,600 - 1,000 YBC). Artifacts dating from each of these periods have been recovered, giving insight into the long-term occupation of this area by the early inhabitants.

The over 800 archaeological finds from the Santa Ysabel Ranch Development include millingstones, handstones, projectile points, mortars and pestles, bone tools as well as shell and stone beads. The middens (essentially domestic waste dumps) contain evidence of the people’s dietary regime, remains of small and medium sized mammals such as squirrels, rabbits, coyotes and deer, as well as the remains of a variety of birds and shellfish were encountered.

Not so common, remains of grizzly bear and elk were also found among the midden debris.  The milling stones point to seed collection/grinding and the mortars to acorn grinding as part of the population's food processing activities.

There is evidence of trade activities with other locations; several quartz crystals, ocean snail beads and the obsidian used on some of the projectile points all point to non-local sources. The Archaeological finds locatesĘthe main settlement area on a terrace overlooked the Salinas River, a quite large camping area near the Hot Springs and several “day use” areas scattered across the parcel. The latter are typically associated with a few individuals creating stone or obsidian tools away from the village area in order to keep people from stepping on the sharp waste flakes. A comfortable location with a good view of game trails for spotting the next meal would be selected for these short-term work areas.

Reference: paper.pdf

Salinan Tribal Justice


This is to comment on an article published in Cal Coast News by Karen Velie on June 26, 2012. The article was entitled Tribe Losing Permission to Climb Morro Rock After News of Reburials of Unidentified Remains. According to this article John Burch, a member of one of the four existing Salinan tribal organizations, allegedly buried human remains on Morro Rock without authorization. Before we share our thoughts about this matter, we wish to provide historical information about the California native people known today as “Salinan.”



"This traditional social/political structure was shattered by genocide during the Spanish mission era. A conservative estimate suggests that approximately 4,000 Salinans died in Missions San Antonio and San Miguel over the course of sixty-four years; many of them children. Our total population at the time of contact is estimated to have been 3,500 to 4,000. In effect, there was a near complete annihilation of our population over the course of sixty-four years. Given this recent history, it feels miraculous to us that a degree of our knowledge, language and traditional ways of being in the world has nonetheless continued to this day."












Click here for more.


50% of Hosting for your Website at!