For thousands of years, the Miwok people lived peacefully throughout large portions of Northern and Central California. They were originally composed of three main groups – the Sierra Miwok, the Lake Miwok and the Coast Miwok. The Miwok lived in more than 100 villages along the San Joaquin and Sacramento rivers, and from the region north of San Francisco Bay eastward to the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains.
The traditional territory of the Sierra Miwok, ancestors of the Ione Band of Miwok Indians, includes the Sierra Nevada foothills of Central California. These groups have been identified as speaking the Nisenan, Northern Miwok and Plains Miwok languages that have been grouped as part of the Penutian language family.