As close as I have come to knowing a base language comes from the “AthaPaskan” region. I am “Wailaki” and i know other tibes share the same variety of language ie: Nongatl,Lassik,Sinkyone,and Kato.If anyone has any information to help me in my quest I encourage your response. @ [email protected] .Thankyou and may our search alawys be for our people.
–Submitted by Jack
The Wailaki language is known as Wailakian.The word Wailakki (Wailaki, Wylaki, Wylakker) translates simply to “north people’s language” or “northspeakers”. The Wailaki are from the Pacific Coast Athapaskans language family of Athapaskans stock from the Na-Dene phylum.
There are no known speakers of the Wailaki dialects still living. In the past, the Wailaki had two distinct dialects known as Lassik and Kekawaka. Their language was very close to that of the Sinkyone. They were also closely related to the Cahto, who spoke the same language..
The Wailaki were a sedentary hunter/gatherer nation that relied heavily on fishing. They were the uppermost Athapaskan tribe on the Eel River in Northwest California, extending to the border of Yuki territory at the Big Bend. They also lived along several affluents.
The Pacific Coast Athapaskans arrived in the area late in the first millennium from Canada. The Wailaki suffered in a major conflict with the Cahto and as a result of the White influx, their numbers were decimated.
There were historical Wailaki villages at the Main Eel River (15), Lower North Fork of Eel River (3), and the Higher up North Fork (4). Today the remaining Wailaki live on the Grindstone Rancheria at Elk Creek, Calfornia and on the Round Valley Reservation, which is made up of the Wailaki and seven other confederated tribes, including their traditional enemies, the Yuki.
Descendents of Yuki, Concow Maidu, Little Lake and other Pomo, Nomlaki, Cahto, Wailaki, and Pit River peoples formed a new tribe on the Round Valley Reservation, now called the Round Valley Indian Tribes.
The only town on the Round Valley Reservation is Covelo, California. As of the year 2000, there were an estimated 400 Wailaki still surviving.
Historically, Wailaki houses were circular. They had no canoes, but crossed streams by weighting themselves down with stones while they waded.
The Wailaki lived by the river during the wet months of the year, when their chief occupation was fishing, done at especially favorable places by means of nets and spears.
The summer and fall months were spent on the sides and tops of the ridges, where the women were able to gather the bulbs, seeds, and nuts, and the men could unite in deer drives and other methods of hunting.
They usually buried their dead, but burned those who fell in battle. They took the whole heads of their enemies as trophies, with which they were accustomed to dance. Like the Yuki, many Wailaki women had their noses and cheeks as well as their chins tattooed.
Coyote holds the principal place in Wailaki mythology, where he is represented as acting under the direction of his father. He secured for men daylight and the heavenly bodies, and fire which he succeeded in stealing from their guardians. Coyote established the fishing places, and ordained social and other customs.
An adolescent ceremony was held for the girls, and most of the boys were trained as candidates for medicine men. During this training, they were restricted in their food, drink, and sleep for many days. This training took place in the fall.
Public exhibitions, consisting in part of dancing, were given by the candidates. Large conical dance houses were erected occasionally, and dedicated with ceremonies of dancing and singing.
Significant Wailaki historical events occurred in:
1850 – Wailaki and Yuki bitter feud with Cahto, many killed; miners and settlers encroached into territory killing many as well
1852 – Natural Bridge Masaccre of April 23, 1852
1861 – 120 killed at Horse Canyon trying to steal horses
1862 – Squatters killed 65 at Round Valley and took over 80% of reservation
1871 – Episcopal mission established at Round Valley
1995 – Shootout at Round Valley Reservation
LINKS OF THE WEEK
1995 Shooting incident at Round Valley involving police and Eugene “Bear” Lincoln
Shapes and Uses of California Indian Basketry
Linguistic Lineage for Wailaki
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