Wiyot Tribe

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The Wiyot Tribe is a federally recognized tribe of Wiyot people from Humboldt Bay, Mad River, and lower Eel River, California. They first encountered Europeans in 1802 and non-native settlers overran Wiyot lands during the California Gold Rush during 1849. 

Official Tribal Name: Wiyot Tribe

Address:  1000 Wiyot Drive, Loleta, California 95551
Phone: 707-733-5055 | 800-388-7633
Fax: 707-733-5601
Email: Contact Form

Official Website: www.wiyot.com

Recognition Status: Federally Recognized

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Formerly the Table Bluff Reservation—Wiyot Tribe. Wishosk, Wiyote

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Region: California

State(s) Today: California

Traditional Territory:

Confederacy: Ojibway Indians of California

Treaties:

Reservations: Table Bluff Reservation
Land Area:  
Tribal Headquarters:   Loleta, California
Time Zone:  Pacific
 

Population at Contact: Approximately 2,000.

Registered Population Today: Approximately 92 members.

Tribal Enrollment Requirements:

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Name of Governing Body:  Tribal Council
Number of Council members:   7 including executive officers
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Executive Officers:  Tribal Chair, Vice Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer

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Language Classification: Algic => Wiyot

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Number of fluent Speakers: The last fluent speaker of Wiyot, Della  Prince, died in 1962. Wiyot, along with its geographical neighbor Yurok, were first identified as relatives of the Algonquin languages by Edward Sapir in 1913, though this classification was disputed for decades in what came to be known as the “Ritwan controversy.” Due to the enormous geographical separation of Wiyot and Yurok from all other Algonquin languages, the validity of their genetic link was hotly contested by leading Americanist linguists. Shortly before her death, Della Prince helped Karl V. Teeter compile the first descriptive grammar of Wiyot, which was published in 1964. His data was crucial to the establishment of the genetic relationship between Algonquin and Wiyot, and effectively ended the scholarly conflict surrounding the issue. . The language is written in the Latin script, and a dictionary and grammar has been published for Wiyot

The Wiyot tribe has a language revitalization program, but there are no fluent speakers at this time.

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Wiyot people lived in permanent villages along the waterways which also served as travel and trade routes. Seasonal camps were made on the tribal lands and prairies, and mountainous regions provided berries, acorns, pine nuts, wild game, and fish. 

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Catastrophic Events: Wiyot Massacre, now known as the Indian Island Massacre

Wiyot Tribe History:

Wiyots were killed in the Rogue River Indian War in 1852.

On 26 February 1860, as the Wiyote people were celebrating their world renewal ceremony, European-American people ambushed Wiyot elders, women, and children in the Wiyot Massacre, (now known as the Indian Island Massacre) on what is now Gunther Island.

The young men were off collecting supplies for the next day’s ceremony leaving the village defenseless, allowing for a group of men from Eureka (who had been planning the massacre) to row across the bay carrying silent weapons to avoid alarming the nearby city. When the Wiyot men came back, their families were piled up leaving only one survivor, a hidden infant. Two other villages were also massacred that night. Post massacre numbers were estimated to be around 200.

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