Pit River Indians

The Pit River Indians are a federally recognized tribe of eleven bands of indigenous peoples of California. They primarily live along the Pit River in the northeast corner of CaliforniaTheir name also is spelled as “Pitt River” in some historical records.

The eleven Pit River bands are known as:

  • Achomawi (Achumawi, Ajumawi)
  • Aporidge
  • Astariwawi (Astarawi)
  • Atsuge (Atsugewi)
  • Atwamsini
  • Hanhawi (Hammawi)
  • Hewisedaw]
  • Ilmawi
  • Itsatawi
  • Kosalextawi (Kosalektawi)
  • Madhes

They speak two related languages: 

Nine speak Achumawi and two speak Atsugewi (Atsuge and Apwaruke). They are classified in the northern group of the proposed Hokan ‘superstock’ of languages, and a subgroup called Palaihnihan has been proposed for just these two languages.

Achumawi is critically endangered, and the Atsugewi language  is extinct. Most Pit River Indians speak only English today.



Pit River Reservations:

  • Big Bend Rancheria, Shasta County, 40 acres, population: 10
  • Likely Rancheria, Modoc County, 1.32 acres, tribal cemetery
  • Lookout Rancheria, Modoc County, 40 acres, population: 10
  • Montgomery Creek Rancheria, Shasta County, 72 acres, population: 15
  • Roaring Creek Rancheria, Shasta County, 80 acres, population: 14
  • XL Ranch, Modoc County, 9,254.86 acres, population: 40.

The tribe also owns trust lands in Lake County, California, Lassen, Mendocino, Modoc, and Shasta Counties.

Pit River Tribes Today:

Pit River Tribe (F) includes:

XL Ranch
Big Bend Rancheria
Likely Rancheria
Lookout Rancheria
Montgomery Creek Rancheria
Roaring Creek Rancheria

Achomawi – See Alturas Indian Rancheria
Atsugewi – See Pit River Tribe

Famous Pit River Chiefs / Leaders

Pit River Historical Timeline