Published on October 22, 2010 by John
The Shasta (or Chasta) are an indigenous people of Northern California and Southern Oregon in the United States. They spoke one of the Shastan languages.
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The Shasta were originally located in the greater Shasta Valley area of Siskiyou County near such modern communities as Yreka, California.
Generally included with the Shasta tribe proper, are a number of adjacent smaller tribes who spoke a related Shastan language. These related tribes include the Konomihu, New River Shasta and the Okwanuchu tribes.
The Shasta tribe is not a federally recognized tribe, though the Chasta of Oregon are part of the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde Community of Oregon. Many former members of the Shasta tribe have since been inducted into the Karuk and Alturas tribes. Current members are petitioning the government to again recognize their tribal status.
Estimates for the pre-contact populations of most native groups in California have varied substantially. (See Population of Native California). Alfred L. Kroeber (1925:883) put the 1770 population of the Shasta proper as 2,000 and the New River, Konomihu, and Okwanuchu groups, along with the Chimariko, as 1,000. In the 1940s, Sherburne F. Cook arrived at a similar estimate of about 3,300, but he subsequently raised the figure to 5,900 (Cook 1976a:177, 1976b:6).
Kroeber estimated the population of the Shasta proper in 1910 as 100.