Wiyot Tribe

The Wiyot Tribe is a federally recognized tribe of Wiyot people. They are the aboriginal people of Humboldt Bay, Mad River and lower Eel River.[5][6]

Wiyot Tribe
Total population
600 enrolled members [1]
Regions with significant populations
 United States ( California)
English, formerly Wiyot[2]
traditional tribal religion[3]
Related ethnic groups
other Wiyot people,[4] Yurok people[3][5]

Other Wiyot people are enrolled in the Blue Lake Rancheria, Rohnerville Rancheria and Trinidad Rancherias.[1][7]


The Wiyot Tribe's land base includes two Reservations Table Bluff Reservation and the Old Table Bluff Reservation are located 16 miles southwest of Eureka, California.[8] The new Table Bluff Reservation is reservation is 88-acres large.[6] The Old Table Bluff Reservation was established in 1908, when a church donated 20 acres of land to the Wiyot Tribe. The land was allotted to individuals The Reservation was formally recognized by the government in 1981 and 102 acres was purchased for the tribe.[5] The Reservation is a locality in Humboldt County, California. It lies at an elevation of 236 feet (72 m).[9] The land is also known as the "Old Reservation" for the Wiyot.[10] As of the 2010 Census the population was 103.[11]


The Wiyot Tribe is headquartered in Loleta, California. The tribe is governed by a democratically elected, seven-member tribal council. The current tribal administration is as follows:

  • Tribal Chair: Ted Hernandez
  • Vice Chairperson: Brian Mead
  • Secretary: Leona Wilkinson
  • Treasurer: Linda Lange
  • Councilperson: Kirsten Boyce
  • Councilperson: Hazel James.[12]


English is commonly spoken by the tribe. The Wiyot language belongs to the California branch of Algic languages. The language is written in the Latin script, and a dictionary and grammar has been published for Wiyot.[2] The last fluent speaker of Wiyot died in 1962.[5]


Prior to European contact, Wiyot people numbered approximately 2,000. They first encountered Europeans in 1802. Non-native settlers overran Wiyote lands during the California Gold Rush during 1849. Wiyots were killed in the Rogue River Indian War in 1852.[3] 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 Indian Island (previously 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 men came back, their families were piled up leaving only one survivor, a hidden infant. Two other villages were massacred that night. Post massacre numbers were estimated to be around 200.


  1. "History | Wiyot Tribe, CA" see "The Tribe Today"
  2. "Wiyot." Ethnologue. Retrieved 29 Sept 2013.
  3. Pritzker 154
  4. Pritzker 261
  5. "Wiyot." Four Directions Institute. Retrieved 29 Sept 2013.
  6. "The Wiyot Tribe." Humboldt State University. Retrieved 29 Sept 2013.
  7. Pritzker 155
  8. "Table Bluff Reservation—Wiyot Tribe." United Indian health Services. Retrieved 29 Sept 2013.
  9. U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Table Bluff Rancheria
  10. Fraley, Briannon (2009). "Culture". Wiyot Tribe. Retrieved 2011-01-22. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  11. https://www.census.gov/2010census/popmap/ipmtext.php?fl=4095
  12. "Council." Wiyot Tribe. Retrieved 29 Sept 2013.


  • Pritzker, Barry M. A Native American Encyclopedia: History, Culture, and Peoples. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000. ISBN 978-0-19-513877-1.

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