Koi Nation of Northern California


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The Koi Nation of the Lower Lake Rancheria is a federally recognized tribe of Southeastern Pomo people located in Sonoma County, California. 

Official Tribal Name: Koi Nation of Northern California

Address:  PO Box 3162, Santa Rosa, CA 95402
Phone: (707) 575-5586
Fax: (707) 575-5506

Official Website: koination.com

Recognition Status: Federally Recognized

Traditional Name / Traditional Meaning: Koi was the name of one of their ancestral villages. Many Southeastern Pomo, the ancestors of the Koi Nation, lived in the island village of Koi in Clear Lake.

Common Name / Meaning of Common Name: Lower Lake Rancheria, referring to the land purchased by the US Government for the homeless Koi people to live on.

Alternate names / Alternate Spellings / Mispellings: Formerly known as Lower Lake Rancheria.

Name in other languages:

Region: California

State(s) Today: California

Traditional Territory:

The Koi people were among the Southeastern Pomo who have lived in north-central California for thousands of years. Their territory ranged from what is now Mendocino County to the eastern shore of San Francisco Bay.

Confederacy: Pomo 


The US government signed two treaties with the Pomos in 1851–1852 which defined Pomo territory; however, these treaties were never ratified by congress.  

Reservation: Lower Lake Rancheria

The federal government secured a 140.46-acre parcel of land originally called Purvis Flat for the homeless Koi people, located between the towns of Lower Lake and Clearlake Heights, which became the Lower Lake Rancheria. In 1937,the Bureau of Indian Affairs declared the land “uninhabitable.” Later, in 1947, the BIA reversed itself and demanded that Koi people had to live on the land or lose their rights to it. Seven tribal families lived on the rancheria in 1950.

In 1956, the tribe sold 99 acres of this land to Lake County to use as an airport; however, the federal government never terminated their recognition of the tribe. The vast majority of Koi Nation tribal members relocated to cities throughout the Bay Area.The BIA finally reaffirmed tribal recognition of the Lower Lake Rancheria on December 29, 2000.

Land Area:  41.6 acres of uninhabited and unuseable land
Tribal Headquarters:  Santa Rosa, CA
Time Zone:  Pacific

Population at Contact: All of the Pomo peoples, collectively, numbered about 2,000 when Europeans first entered California.

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Charter:  In 1961, the tribe organized under the Articles of Association. In June 2008, a new Constitution was ratified, replacing the Articles of Association.
Name of Governing Body:  Tribal Council
Number of Council members:  5, including executive officers.
Dates of Constitutional amendments: 
Number of Executive Officers:  Chairman, Vice Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer


Language Classification: Pomoan -> Southeastern Pomo

Language Dialects: Koi Nation Lower Lake Pomo (also known as Elem Pomo) 

Number of fluent Speakers:

As of 2009, there is only one remaining fluent native speaker, Loretta Kelsey. The tribe does have a language revitalization program.



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Art & Crafts:

The Pomo produced many goods, including beautiful and useful tools like arrowheads, knives, ax-heads, scraping tools and ornaments. They also expertly crafted beads of magnesite and clamshells, which served as a form of currency. However, they were best known for their baskets, which were intricately designed, functional and watertight. 




The Southeast Pomo were hunter-gatherers. They hunted deer and small game animals, and gathered nuts, berries and roots, but their primary food was fish. 

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Catastrophic Events:

In 1870, some Koi people attended a historic Ghost Dance. By 1871, their homes had been burned and destroyed by European-Americans. Disease, enslavement, and murder greatly reduced their population.  

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