Who are the Bear River tribe?
The Bear River Band of the Rohnerville Rancheria are the people of the Eel River Basin. They are located in Northern California on the Pacific coast in Loleta, California. Members are mostly Wiyot and Mattole.
In 1958 Rohnerville Rancheria was one of 34 California tribes that was terminated by an act of congress known as the Rancheria Act. In December of 1983, the Bear River Band of Rohnerville Rancheria, along with sixteen (16) other California Tribes, regained their federal recognition status by a class action lawsuit known as the Tillie-Hardwick case.
Official Tribal Name: Bear River Band of the Rohnerville Rancheria
Official Website: www.brb-nsn.gov/
Recognition Status: Federally Recognized
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Region: Pacific Coast
State(s) Today: California
The tribe’s traditional territory was along the Mattole and Bear Rivers near Cape Mendocino. Wiyot people lived along the Little River down to the Bear River and 25 miles eastward. The Mattole villages of Tcalko’, Chilsheck, Selsche’ech, Tlanko, Estakana, and Sehtla were located along Bear River.
The Rohnerville Rancheria is a federally recognized ranchería located in two separate parts. One is at the eastern edge of Fortuna, and the other to the southeast of Loleta, both in Humboldt County, California. The Tribe was originally established in 1910 as a home for homeless, landless Native
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Number of Council members: Three council members at large, plus executive officers
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Number of Executive Officers: Chairman, Vice-Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer
Mattole people spoke the Mattole language, an Athapaskan language, while Wiyots spoke the Wiyot language, an Algonquian language.
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Dictionary: Wiyot Language
Related Tribes: Mattole and Wiyot
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Adornment: Mattole people differed from the neighboring tribes because their men traditionally tattooed their faces, instead of just women. Women of all the tribes in the area tattooed their faces as a form of adornment.
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In the News:
An American Genocide: The United States and the California Indian Catastrophe, 1846-1873
Survival Skills of Native California
The California Indians: A Source Book
A Cross of Thorns: The Enslavement of California’s Indians by the Spanish Missions