American Indian Studies
California Indians and their reservations: an online dictionary
Originally compiled by: Phillip White
A federal reservation of Pomo Indians in Sonoma County, near the community of Geyserville. Total area is 75 acres, with a population around 53.
Also known as the Sulphur Bank Rancheria, a federal reservation of Pomo Indians in Lake County, northern California. The Elem Indian Colony was established by court decree in 1949. Total area is 50 acres, which lie along the northwest side of Clear Lake. Population is around 69, with a tribal enrollment of about 165. Contact: P.O. Box 989, Clear Lake Oaks, CA 95423, (707) 998-4100, fax (707) 998-1900. See: Elem Pomo Tribe
A federal reservation of Tolowa Indians in Del Norte County, near Crescent City, on the Pacific Coast just south of the Oregon border. The total area of the rancheria is 105 acres, with a population around 77.
Also spelled Eslen, Escelen, or Ensen. Both a tribe and a branch of the Hokan linguistic family. The Esselen Indians were one of the least populous groups in California, restricted to a narrow territory along the central coast of California. The Ohlone/Costanoan-Esselen Nation was federally recognized as the Monterey Band of Monterey County. See: The Ohlone/Costanoan Esselen Nation Chronicles
A federal reservation of Paiute Indians in Modoc County in the extreme northwestern corner of California, near the town of Fort Bidwell. The total area of the reservation is 3,335 acres, with a population of about 108.
A federal reservation of Pauite and Shoshone Indians in Inyo County, near the town of Independence. Total area is 356 acres, with a population around 86.
The home of the Fort Mohave Indian Tribe. The reservation is located in California, Arizona and Nevada totaling 33,000 acres of land. The enrolled tribal members number 1,082. The reservation is governed by a Tribal Council consisting of 7 members. Contact: Fort Mohave Indian Tribe 500 Merriman Ave., Needles, CA 92363, (760) 629-4591, fax (760) 629-5767.
A federal reservation of Quechan Indians in Imperial County, California and Yuma County, Arizona along the Colorado River. Total area is 43,942 acres. Population is around 2,340. Contact: Quechan Tribal Council, P.O. Box 11352, Yuma, AZ 85364, (619) 572-0213.
The federal Indians of Graton Rancheria are coast Miwok. For a brief time, the Miwok resided on the Graton Rancheria in Sonoma County near Sebastapol, which was designated for California Indians, mainly Coast Miwok and Southern Pomo said Ross. Originally Graton Rancheria was 15 acres. Today it is a one-acre lot privately owned by Gloria Armstrong, an original member of the Miwok. Ross said half of the original 15 acres of Graton Rancheria was not conductive to living. See: Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria Website.
A federal reservation of Maidu Indians located in northeastern California, in Plumas and Tehama counties, about 60 miles from the city of Redding. The total area is 51 acres. Population is about 22, with a tribal enrollment around 144. See: Greenville Rancheria
A federal reservation of Nomlaki and Wintun Indians in Glenn County, about six miles from the small town of Elk Creek City. The total area is 120 acres. Population is about 98, and tribal enrollment is around 162.
Since restoration of Federal recognition in 1992, the tribe received a 44-acre parcel of land, about 2 miles east of Ukiah, California.
A grouping of the Yuman branch of languages; spoken by the Chumash, Karuk, Kumeyaay (Diegueño/Ipai-Tipai), Miwok, Mojave, Pit River, Pomo, Shasta, Washoe, and Yana Indians.
A federal reservation of Hupa Indians in northeast Humboldt County, about 64 miles east of Eureka. This forested country is located along the Trinity River, and over three-quarters of the reservation is designated as commercial timberland. The total area is 85,446 acres, or about 144 square miles. It has a population of 2,633. The reservation's seven districts (Campbell, Hostler-Matilton, Agency, Soctish-Chenone, Mesket, Norton, and Bald Hill) correspond with traditional Hupa villages. At the heart of the Hoopa Valley is the ancient village of Takimildin, which is "the center of the world" for the Hupa people. The Brush Dance, the White Deerskin Dance, and the Jump Dance are performed yearly. See also: Hupa Indians
A federal reservation of Pomo Indians in Mendocino County, 13 miles south of the city of Ukiah. Tribal members in the area are about 291, with a tribal enrollment (1994) of 350, and about 45 on the reservation.
A tribe who traditionally occupied lands in the far northwestern corner of California, along the lower Trinity River and in the Hoopa Valley. Their self-designation was Natinook-wa, "People of the Place Where the Trails Return." Hupa is from the Yurok language for the Hoopa Valley. The Hupa were culturally and linguistically related to three neighboring tribes: the Chilula and Whilkut who lived mainly to their east; and the South Fork Hupa (Tsnungwe) who lived to the south. They are also culturally related to the Yurok and the Karuk to the north. Their language belongs to the Athabascan language family. In the early 19th century, there were around 1,000 Hupa in and near the Hoopa Valley. Their diet and way of life centered around the semiannual king salmon runs that occur on the Trinity River. This river flows through the Hoopa Valley Reservation, created in 1864, which is in the heart of their traditional territory. Being fairly isolated, the Hupa had little contact with non-natives until the mid-19th century. Over 2,600 Indians live on this reservation. Today, the tribe's economy centers around the timber industry. See: Hoopa Valley Reservation
A federal reservation of Diegueño Indians in eastern San Diego County, near the mountain community of Santa Ysabel. Area is 880 acres, with about 15 in residence.
Recognized by the state of California, but not the federal government.
The reservation in California known as an "Indian Community" is the Quartz Valley Indian Community in Siskiyou County in the northwestern part of the state.
Population of 8. See: website
The northern dialectical form of the Kumeyaay (Diegueño) language, a Hokan language of the Yuman branch. Also, the name of the northern Kumeyaay people. See also: Kumeyaay (Diegueño).
A federal reservation of Mewuk (Miwok) Indians in Amador County in central California. Total area is 331 acres, with a population around 27.
Part of the Kumeyaay (Diegueño) tribe of southern California, occupying Jamul Indian Village in southeastern San Diego County
A federal reservation of Kumeyaay (Diegueño) Indians located about 10 miles southeast of the city of El Cajon in San Diego County. Population is 1.
The Juaneño Band of Mission Indians have not attained federal recognition. (949) 462-0170. See also: Luiseño.
The Yuman Indians of Imperial County in southern California who are related linguistically and culturally to the Kumeyaay (Diegueño) of San Diego County. See also: Kumeyaay (Diegueño)
A tribe from the far northwestern portion of California, inland along the middle section of the Klamath River. Karuk means "upstream," as opposed to the word for their neighbors, Yurok, which means "downstream." Culturally, the Karuk were very similar to the neighboring Yurok and Hupa. Their language is one of the Hokan language family. They traditionally relied on the salmon runs that occur twice each year, as well as on gathering foods. Karuk population in the 18th century is estimated to have been around 1,500. Today, the Karuk are one of the largest tribes in California, with approximately 4,800 members, although the tribe has a small land base. Today, Karuk Indians live in the Orleans district in Humboldt County, the Happy Camp district, the Yreka district, along the Forks of the Salmon region in Siskiyou County, and in southern Oregon.
About 200-300 Kawaiisu descendents live in their traditional areas in Kern County, including five fluent speakers of their language between the ages of 60 and 95 years of age. Classes in their language of Tehachapi are being taught today. This language is of the Southern Numic branch of the Uto-Aztecan language family. Their homelands are in the foothills between the Mohave Desert and the San Joaquin Valley where they have lived for more than 2,000 years. This area is in the Tehachapi and Piute mountain areas of northern California. The Kawaiisu were great basket makers, but the last one passed away in the 1980s. For more information, see: The Kawaiisu Tribe. Some people of Kawaiisu descent also live on the Tule River Reservation.
These people traditionally lived in southern California in present-day Kern County, around the Bakersfield area. They lived in semi-permanent villages in the classic California foothills fashion. During the 19th century, they Kitanemuk lived in the Tejon Ranch Indian community, which never became a reservation. Today, many people of Kitanemuk descent live near Tejon Ranch, but only one family still lives on the ranch. Some people of Kitanemuk descent live on the Tule River Reservation, as well as on private land near their homeland. Traditionally, their food consisted of acorns and other vegetables, and was supplemented with small-game hunting. Their language belongs to the Uto-Aztecan family.
One of the three languages of the Maidu people, and a division of the Maidu people representing the northwestern or foothill Maidu.
Also called the Diegueño, or Tipai-Ipai, these Indians' traditional lands are what are now San Diego County and northern Baja California. The Kumeyaay land extended from 50 to 75 miles both north and south of the present Mexican border, as well as from the California coast almost to the Colorado River. Theirs is a Hokan language of the Yuman branch. They are divided also by two dialects: Ipai (the northern dialectical form) and Tipai (the southern dialectical form). They depended on a variety of foods, from marine resources along the coast to vegetable foods such as acorns, to dry farming. In the 18th century, there were around 50 bands of Kumeyaay. The Mission San Diego was the first Spanish mission in California, established in San Diego in 1769 to convert the Kumeyaay, among other goals. The Spanish called them Diegueños because they lived near the San Diego river. In the late 18th century there were between 3,000 and 9,000 Tipai-Ipai, or Kumeyaay/Diegueño/Kamia. Before 1870, the southern and interior Kumeyaay largely avoided repression by the Mission San Diego, while the northern and coastal Kumeyaay had early contact with the missions, and fell under Spanish domination. After 1870, American immigrants moved into the area, taking the Kumeyaay land. Until 1910, the Kumeyaay largely starved on inadequate reservations or found menial labor on area ranches or in local homes. Today, there are around 1,200 Kumeyaay living on their reservations of Barona, Campo, Inaja-Cosmit, La Posta, Manzanita, Mesa Grande, San Pasqual, Santa Ysabel, Sycuan, Viejas (Baron Long), and the Jamul Indian Village. Their reservations of Capitan Grande and Cuyapaipe are unoccupied. Another 2,000 more live off-reservation. Various spellings of Kumeyaay may be found in older documents, such as Kumei, or Cumeyaay. For more information: The Kumeyaay Website.
The Northern Paiute Indians from the Mono Lake region. See: Mono Lake Indian Community.
Literally "people who slept here." The name of the Cupeño people. Less than nine speakers of the original language are still alive.
The Luiseño Indians of the La Jolla Indian Reservation. See: Website
A federal reservation of Luiseño Indians in northern San Diego County, along the southern slopes of Mount Palomar, near the community of Valley Center. Total land area is 8,541 acres. Population is around 390, with a tribal enrollment of about 620.
Archaeological designation for the Indian people living from 8,000-2,000 years ago in southern California. They lived between the San Dieguito period (9,500-8,000 years ago) and before the Kumeyaay (Diegueño) Indians (2,000 years ago to the present). They were semi-nomadic and utilized seeds, shellfish, and fish for subsistence.
The Kumeyaay (Diegueño) Indians of the La Posta Reservation. See: Website
A federal reservation of Kumeyaay (Diegueño) Indians in the high desert country of the Laguna Mountains in the eastern part of San Diego County. Total area is 3,556 acres. The La Posta Band of Mission Indians has a tribal enrollment of around 18.
By the end of the 19th century, most Indian peoples in California had suffered devastating losses to their numbers through diseases, military battles, poverty, and cultural disruption. They had been forcibly removed from their traditional lands, and their populations were depleted. Many Indian groups were left without a permanent land base. A Congressional act called for an investigation, led by C. E. Kelsey, on the status of California's "landless" Indians at the beginning of the 20th century. This led to the establishment of many reservations and rancherias for California's "landless" Indians.
A federal reservation of Cahto and Pomo Indians in Mendocino County, about three miles west of the town of Laytonville. Total area is 264 acres, with a population around 188
A federal reservation purchased for the Pit River Indians in Modoc County in northeastern California. Total area is 1.32 acres, which serves as a tribal cemetery for the Pit River Tribe.
There are seven linguistic groups of California Indians: Algonquian, Athabascan, Hokan, Lutuamian, Penutian, Shoshonean, and Yukian.
A federal reservation of Owens Valley Paiute and Shoshone Indians in Inyo County, in south central California on the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. Total area is 237 acres. Population is around 212, with about 1,400 enrolled in the tribe. See: website
A federal reservation of Pit River Indians in Modoc County, near the town of Burney, partially surrounded by the Shasta National Forest. Total area is 40 acres, with a population around 10.
A federal reservation of Cahuilla and Cupeño Indians in northeastern San Diego County, near the community of Warner Springs, between the Cleveland National Forest and the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. Total area is 25,050 acres. Population is around 70, with about 212 tribal members in the area. Contact: (760) 782-0711 or see website
These people traditionally occupied land extending approximately 50 miles along the southern California coastline, including the northern part of San Diego County, and lands south of Los Angeles. Historically, the Luiseño occupied the territory south of Mt. San Jacinto extending to the Pacific coast. Their lands extended inland for about 30 miles, north of the Kumeyaay lands. The Spanish named them after the Mission San Luis Rey, and the San Luis Rey River. The Luiseño were associated with the Mission San Juan Capistrano, also, and were often referred to as Juaneño Indians. Both the Luiseño and Juaneño are included among the groups of so-called Mission Indians. The Luiseño and Juaneño languages belong to the Takic branch of the Uto-Aztecan language family. Many people still speak Luiseño. Their foods were marine resources along the coast and vegetables gathered in the foothills of the Coast Range to the east. They lived in semi-permanent villages, with some seasonal movement. The Luiseño were organized into roughly 50 patrilineal clan tribelets, each with an autonomous, semi-permanent village led by a hereditary chief. Each village group also had its own food resource area. In the late 18th century, there were approximated 10,000 Luiseños. The 1990 population of Luiseños on their reservations stood at 1,795. Today, Luiseño people live on the La Jolla, Pala, Pechanga, Pauma, Rincon, Soboba, and Twentynine Palms reservations. They are also called the Luiseño Band of Mission Indians.