"We enjoyed our field trip to the Museum of the American Indian so much! The children loved Alicia Retes' teaching and storytelling. They pranced like deer and gathered by nuts. The parents participated and we all learned so much about Coast Miwok people, animals, plants and even the proper way to handle fur! It was well worth the 50 minute trip from Concrod. Thank you so much ofr the perfect day.
Vawn Fishbaguh, Third Grade, Calvary Temple Christian School, Concord, CA.


The Museum’s educational program presents classes that explore the history and culture of Native Americans in California and other regions of the country for both adults and children. The school age programs fulfill the state curriculum for social studies. Other educational activities presented by the Museum include, winter, spring and summer (Camp Coyote) workshops and day camps for children 6 -11, a six part lecture series for adults and traditional story telling by Native elders.


Alicia M. Retes, C.I.T., C.I.G.
Certified Interpretive Guide and Trainer

Alicia, part Mayo, Yaqui and Cherokee is a multitalented interpretive artisan, nature guide and musician. Her work is influenced by personal wildlife adventures combined with respect and appreciation for Native cultural art. She is a Certified Interpretive Guide and Trainer through the National Association for Interpreters. Alicia’s mission is to inspire people of all ages to experience meaningful, nurturing relationships with nature through the joy of discovery and interactive experiences guiding to greater respect for all life.

Students harvesting bay nuts with Ms. Alicia


Class Descriptions

Bay Area Indigenous People Tours and Activities about 2 hours
45 – 1hr. Walking outside among the trees talking about Miwok life, their environment and how they managed and used the natural resources to provide for their needs, housing, food, clothing etc. Gather  bay nuts when in season, participate in an interactive deer hunting story and examine the materials and framework of the kotcha, the Miwoks house

15 minutes Museum Exhibits

30 to 40 minutes Hands-On Rotation Activites-Native Games, Music and Paleo Technology:

    • Hoop and Spear – Practice hunting skills
    • Staves – A game of chance using decorated sticks
    • Pump Drills – Used to make holes into shells to create money and jewelry
    • Hands-On-Room – Examine animal skins, play Native musical instruments and learn Native songs

Cultural Crafts To Add Onto Tours

Shell Necklace -Make a shell necklace using natural fiber cordage, abalone, dentalium and class beads

Ring & Pin Toy 15 – 20 minutes
Traditional native toy made of leather, twine and a wooden stick used by children to play with and develop their hand and eye coordination skills

Making Rope 30 – 45 minutes
Introduce the cattail plant, where it grows and the strength and pliability of the leaves
Explain how the Native Americans used the leaves for weaving baskets, skirts and making rope
Demonstrate how to twist the Cattail rope and create rope

Tule 30 – 45 minutes (Subject to Availability of Tule)
Traditional Tule Boats or Tule Bittern Birds Crafting either a miniature Tule boat OR a toy a Bittern bird that lived among the Tule reeds

Medicine Bags 10 - 15 minutes
Medicine Bags are a part of the Native Culture. Plains Indians wrap herbs for healing purposes in soft leather pouches and carry it with them for medicinal purposes. Students will fill a small soft leather pouch with white sage and tie it off with natural made string and decorate with feathers

Interactive Story or Puppet Show   15 to 30 minutes
Traditional Native Story acted out through puppetry, telling a story that has been passed down through the generations.

Contact Alicia M. Retes    Phone (415) 897-4064   Email

Location  2200 Novato Blvd. at Miwok Park in Novato
Mail Post Office Box 864, Novato, CA 94948
Web Site

Tours, Classes and Lectures

Bay Area
Indigenous People
$155 up to 25 students plus 5 adults
$170 26 to 30 students plus 6 adults
$190 31 to 34 students plus 8 adults
35 or over students, must split class into two tours

Camp Coyote
Workshops and
Day Camps

Tule Boats $10 per person
Rope Making $8 per person (up to 3 pieces of rope)
Toys $3.00/person /toy (school group rate)
$5.50/person /toy (private)
Puppet Show $35 School rate w/ Coast Miwok Class
$50 Private
Medicine Bags
$3.50/per person/per bag
Tule Bittern Birds* $8/person  
Shell Necklace $3.50  

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Exhibition for Sale!

Precious Cargo California Indian Cradle Baskets and Childbirth Traditions

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“Through your work at the Museum of the American Indian you are insuring that future generations understand the rich heritage and important lessons from the Native Americans that lived in this region and throughout North America. Thank you for all you do to promote tolerance, understanding and a strong sense of community pride.”

Mary Jane Burke, Marin County Superintendent of Schools