Western View: Living History at a State Park

Taylor Hillman Features, Western View

There’s a rich history In the San Joaquin Valley, and there are several state parks that honor the heritage of some of the people who settled here and built the agricultural dynamo in which we live.

There are four parks that, in my opinion, teach us a lot about the people who came before us. These parks celebrate the diverse cultures that came together here, and each park is a living history lesson for every Californian.

We’ll talk about these four parks over the next few weeks, with each one given due consideration. These are wonderful places to teach our children about our heritage as Californians. If you want to see your kids exposed to the real history of our land, these parks should be on your list of must-see places.

The first park is all about the Americans that were here first. Tomo-Kahni State Historic Park rests atop a ridge in the Tehachapi Mountains, overlooking Sand Canyon and the Tehachapi valley. The Kawaiisu are descended from a southern Paiute and Chemehueve lineage. Their descendants still live in the area. Their native land ranges from Death Valley to the east and the San Joaquin to the west. Tomo-Kahni or “Winter Village,” was the winter home of some of the members of the tribe. The site is protected and can only be visited while on a guided tour. These tours are led by trained docents on weekends during the spring and fall months.

The tours begin with an orientation at the Tehachapi Museum then a drive to the actual park. This is followed by a mildly strenuous three mile walking tour at the park. The rangers and docents provide information about the village and Indian life. It’s an interpretive tour, with artifacts, petroglyphs, and mortar holes providing clues about how the first Americans lived close to nature in this beautiful area. The docents do a great job of helping the village come alive to visitors. Children as well as adults will leave with a better understanding and appreciation of the early residents of the Sierra and the San Joaquin Valley.

Tours of the park are very popular and only cost $5 per person. Call the state park (661) 946-6092 or visit their website https://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=610 for more information.

I’m Len WIlcox and that’s the Western View from AgNet West.