The great-great-granddaughter of a Coast Miwok leader is hoping to create a monument to her ancestral people and spark conversation about the original caretakers of Marin County lands.
Lucina Vidauri traces her roots back generations to the band of Coast Miwok that inhabited the area spanning from the San Francisco and San Pablo Bays in the east to Bolinas and Nicasio in the west. Now, the Sausalito resident is raising funds to build a larger-than-life bronze statue honoring the Coast Miwok in her town.
Monterey sculptor Will Pettee has created a maquette showing a family of three, which Ms. Vidauri hopes the city of Sausalito will place at the ferry terminal. “When people get off the ferries, and the first thing they see is the Miwok people, it might inspire residents of Marin to go and Google it and learn about the culture,” she said. “Many, many cities have statues of their Native Americans. Marin County doesn’t.”
Ms. Vidauri’s great-great-grandfather Camilo Ynitia, whom she describes as the last chief of Marin, was the only Native American to own a Mexican land grant in Northern California: Rancho Olompali, the land grant between Novato and Petaluma that later became Olompali State Historic Park. Though her roots run deep in Marin, Ms. Vidauri grew up in Vallejo, and much of what she knows about her Miwok heritage comes from her father, Robert Thomas, who left her boxes of family photos and artifacts when he died.
Ms. Vidauri, who works as a full-time court reporter assistant, is the driving force behind the project. She isn’t affiliated with any tribal government; she opted out of the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria, the only federally recognized tribe representing Coast Miwok people, because she didn’t want to profit from the tribe’s casino.
According to Ms. Vidauri, the tribe is comprised almost entirely of people of Pomo descent, whose ties are to lands north of Marin. She does have the support of the Coast Miwok Tribal Council of Marin, an all-male group of unenrolled Miwok descendants who have sometimes been at odds with the federally recognized tribe.
Dean Hoaglin, the council’s chairman, said Ms. Vidauri has been “steadfast in her commitment to teaching others about who we are. Recognition is everything. Acknowledgement is everything.” He added that without formal tribal affiliation, Ms. Vidauri and his council struggle to be recognized as Marin’s Indigenous people. “When you’re on your own, you’re limited in who hears you, so I’m always going to stand with her,” he said.
On Monday, Oct. 11, Ms. Vidauri will host an Indigenous Peoples’ Day gathering on Zoom, where she said attendees will learn to be an ally of the Indigenous people where they live. You can register at www.eventbrite.com/e/coast-miwok-tickets-175851666067.