Pomo Indians


Last Updated: 7 years

The Pomo were originally placed in a distinct linguistic stock (Kulanapan) but are now attached to the widely scattered Hokan family.

Pomo Indians. From the native ending -Pomo or -poma, placed after the names of village or local groups, the exact meaning of which is unknown. Also called:

  • Nokonmi, Yuki name.

Pomo Location

The Pacific Coast between Cleone and Duncan’s Point, and inland, with some interruptions, as far as Clear Lake; there was a detached group on Stony Creek.

Pomo Subdivisions

The Pomo were divided dialectically into the following groups:

  • Salt Pomo or Northeastern Pomo, on the headwaters of Stony Creek. Eastern Pomo, on the northern and southern affluents of Clear Lake. Southeastern Pomo, about Lower Lake.
  • Northern Pomo, from the northern boundary of Pomo territory to Navarro River and some distance above Ukiah on Russian River.
  • Central Pomo, from the above boundaries to Gualala on the coast and a point north of Cloverdale on Russian River.
  • Southern Pomo or Gallinomero, in the inland portion of the remaining Pomo territory.
  • Southwestern or Gualala Pomo, on the coast section of the remaining territory.

Certain divisions larger than villages were recognized in an indefinite way by the people themselves.

Pomo Village Communities

Northeastern Pomo:

Bakamtati, at Stony Ford.
Cheetido, at the salt deposit.
Turururaibida, above the forks of Stony Creek.
The status of the last two of these is somewhat uncertain.

Eastern Pomo:

Bidamiwina, Nonapotl, and Shabegok were names of three places which were at different times centers of a community called Habe-napo or “rock people,” around Kelseyville.
Danoha, some miles up an eastern affiluent of lower Scott Creek, connected with which was Badonnapoti on Bloody Island in Upper Lake off the mouth of Scott Creek and Behepel or Gabehe between the two.
Howalek, on Middle Creek near Upper Lake town.
Kashibadon, at Lakeport on the west side of the lake.
Shigom, on the east side of main Clear Lake.
Yobutui, on the opposite side of lower Scott Creek from the northern Pomo village of Mayi.

Southeastern Pomo:

Elem, on Rattlesnake or Sulphur Bank Island in the Bay known as East Lake. Kamdot or Lemakma, on Buckingham Island near the entrance to Lower Lake. Koi, Hoyi, Shutauyomanok, or Kaubokolai, on an island near the outlet of the

Northern Pomo:

Bakau, at Little Lake north of Willits. Buldam, at the mouth of Big River. Chomchadila, on the West Fork near Calpella. Chauishak, near Willits.
Dapishu or Kachabida, in Redwood Canyon. Kachake, on Mill Creek, separate position uncertain.
Kadiu, at the mouth of Noyo River. Kalaili, at the mouth of Little River. Katuli, above Navarro River at Christine. Komli, at Ukiah.
Kulakai, at a lake south of Sherwood. Lemkolil, on Anderson Creek near Boonville.
Masut or Shiyol, on the West Fork of Russian River near the mouth of Seward Creek.
Mato, northwest of Sherwood.
Mayi, on Scott Creek near Tule Lake, not far from the town of Upper Lake. Nabo or Nato, near Willits.
Naboral, on Scott Creek northwest of Lakeport.
Pomo, in Potter Valley downstream from Sedam.
Shabakana, Bitadanek, and Kobida, three sites successively inhabited by one group, whose home was on Forsythe Creek.
Sedam, in Potter Valley downstream from Shanel.
Shachamkau, Chamkawi or Bomaa, downstream?, in Coyote Valley.
Shanekai, in a small elevated valley between the heads of an affluent of south-ern Eel River and a tributary of Middle Creek which drains into the head of Clear Lake.
Shanel or Seel or Botel, at the north end of Potter Valley on the East Fork of Russian River.
Shotsiu, east of Willits.
Tabate, below Philo on Navarro River.
Tsakamo, on Russian River at the mouth of Cold Creek.
Tsamomda, west of Willits.
Tsiyakabeyo, on a tributary of Middle Creek which drains into the head of Clear Lake, probably only a part of Shanekai.
On the North Fork of Navarro River were three sites, Chaida, Chulgo, and Huda, which may have constituted a community.

Central Pomo:

Danokeya, name uncertain, on Rancheria Creek.
Kahwalau, Russian River at the mouth of Pieta Creek.
Kodalau, on Brush Creek.
Koloko, Russian River at the mouth of Squaw Creek.
Lachupda, on the upper waters of the North Fork of Gualala River. Lema, on McNab Creek a mile or two up from Russian River.
Pdahau or Icheche, on Lower Garcia River.
Shanel, near the mouth of McDowell and Feliz Creeks, in Hopland Valley. Shepda, on Russian River at the entry of Wise Creek.
Shiego, on Russian River at the mouth of McNab Creek.
Shokadjal, on Russian River in Ukiah Valley.
Tatem, downstream from the last and in the same valley.

Southern Pomo or Gallinomero:

Batiklechawi, at Sebastopol at the head of the slough known as Laguna de Santa Rosa, an important village and probably the head of a district. Hiwalhmu, a village and probably the head of a community on the Gualala River drainage.
Hukabetawi, near Santa Rosa City and perhaps the head of a community. Kalme, a community in the Russian River drainage.
Kubahmoi, a village and probably the head of a community on the Gualala River drainage.
Makahmo, on the Russian drainage at the mouth of Sulphur Creek.
Ossokowi, a village and probably the center of a community on Russian River extending from the mouth of Elk Creek halfway up to Geyserville.
Shamli, a village on Gualala River drainage, perhaps the head of a community.
Shawako, on Dry Creek at the mouth of Piiia Creek.
Wilok, at the head of Santa Rosa Creek.
Wotokkaton, head of a community in the vicinity of Healdsburg.
Southwestern or Gualala Pomo:

Ashachatiu, a village at the mouth of Russian River connected probably with Chalanchawi.
Chalanchawi (see Ashachatiu).
Chiti-bida-kal, north of Timber Cove.
Danaga, at Stewart’s Point.
Hibuwi, on the Middle Fork of the Gualala.
Kowishal, at Black Point.
Meteni, perhaps the name of a group at the site of Fort Ross, though another name, Madshuinui is also mentioned.
Potol, on Haupt and Hopper Creeks, perhaps the center of a group.

Pomo Population

Kroeber (1925) estimates 8,000 Pomo in 1770; the census of 1910 returned 777, but this figure perhaps does not include all, as Kroeber gives 1,200 for the same year. According to the census of 1930, there were then 1,143.