Bear River Band of the Rohnerville Rancheria

The Bear River Band of the Rohnerville Rancheria is a federally recognized tribe of Mattole, Bear River and Wiyot people in Humboldt County, California.[3]

Bear River Band of the
Rohnerville Rancheria
The tribe's Bear River Casino in Loleta, California
Total population
550 enrolled members [1]
Regions with significant populations
 United States ( California)
English, historically Mattole and Wiyot
Related ethnic groups
other Mattole and Wiyot people[2]


The Bear River Band is headquartered in Loleta, California..[2] Tribal enrollment is based on residency on the Rohnerville Rancheria from 1910 to 1960 or being a lineal descent of those residents.[4]

Reservation and traditional territories

The Rohnerville Rancheria is a federally recognized ranchería located in two separate parts. One (40°34′49″N 124°07′21″W) is at the eastern edge of Fortuna, and the other (40°37′53″N 124°12′11″W) to the southeast of Loleta, both in Humboldt County. As of the 2010 Census the population was 38.[5]

The tribe's traditional territory was along the Mattole and Bear Rivers near Cape Mendocino. Wiyot people lived along the Little River down to the Bear River and 25 miles (40 km) eastward.[3]:154 The Mattole villages of Tcalko', Chilsheck, Selsche'ech, Tlanko, Estakana, and Sehtla were located along Bear River.[2]

Economic development

The Bear River Band owns and operates several entities including Bear River Casino Resort, River's Edge Restaurant, the Thirsty Bear Lounge, Bear River Recreation Center, and Bear River Tobacco Traders all located in Loleta, California.[6] Coming soon in 2019, construction will be completed on the new Bear River Family Entertainment Center that will include a 10 lane bowling alley, arcade, and laser tag that will be open to the public and located next to the Bear River Recreation Center.

Traditional culture

Mattole people differ from neighboring tribes because men traditionally tattooed their faces, instead of just women. Mattole spoke the Mattole language, an Athapaskan language,[2] while Wiyots spoke the Wiyot language, an Algonquian language.[7] Subsistence practices that continue today for ceremonial purposes include salmon fishing and gathering salt, seaweed, and shells by hand.[8]


  1. Bear River Tribe: About Us. Retrieved 12 September 2017.
  2. "Bear River Band of the Rohnerville Rancheria." United Indian Health Services. Retrieved June 25, 2012.
  3. Pritzker, Barry M (2000). A Native American Encyclopedia: History, Culture, and Peoples. Oxford, U.K.: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-513877-1.:155
  4. "Amended Constitution of the Bear River Band of Rohnerville Rancheria.", retrieved June 25, 2012.
  6. "Bear River Casino." 500 Nations. Retrieved June 25, 2012.
  7. "Wiyot Indians." SDSU: California Indians and Their Reservations. Retrieved 25 June 2012.
  8. "Tribes and Tribal Communities of the North Coast." Integrating Tribal Marine Resource Use into the Marine Life Protection Act. Retrieved June 25, 2012.

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