Shasta Tribe History

Published on May 3, 2013 by Amy

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Shasta Indians
Shasta Indians

The Shasta < > Indians are a native people of northern California and southern Oregon. In the early 1800’s, about 3,000 Shasta lived in small settlements throughout the region. Mount Shasta, in northern California, is named for the Shasta.

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The Shasta homeland was rich in food resources, so the Shasta could live in permanent settlements. They made rectangular winter homes of cedar planks that held several families. In summer, they lived in more open, temporary dwellings. Shasta people lived by hunting and fishing and by gathering wild plant foods. Deer, salmon, and acorns were important food sources. Acorns contain a bitter substance called tannic acid, making them too bitter to eat. To remove the tannic acid, Shasta Indians ground the acorns and rinsed the acorn meal with water. They then dried the meal and stored it in pits or baskets. They baked acorn meal into a kind of bread or cake for eating.

The California gold rush of 1849 brought many settlers into Shasta territory. Disease and conflicts with gold miners and settlers caused many deaths. In some instances, miners organized volunteer companies to hunt down and kill Indians. The government abolished the Shasta reservation in 1967. Today, fewer than 500 Shasta live in the region.

Source: abouthuman Unabridged
Based on the collective work of, © 2015 Native American Encyclopedia.
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