The People of Hoopa Valley

Published on October 26, 2012 by Amy

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Hoopa Valley
Hoopa Valley

The People of Hoopa Valley are one of California’s first cultures. The first American trappers and gold miners entered Hoopa in 1828. They came up the Trinity River into the rich valley which has always been the center of the Hupa World, the place where the trails return. Legends say this is where the people came into being. Our treaty was signed providing the whole Hoopa Valley as a reservation. In 1876 an executive order was signed acknowledging this treaty. Since first European contact the culture and traditions remain to this day.

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In 1864, a Peace and Friendship Treaty was negotiated with the United States. In 1896, the Department of the Interior began preparing a land allotment list and in 1909 a Proclamation was handed down by President Theodore Roosevelt. This list was not completed and approved until 1923. The Hupa People successfully avoided the physical destruction of their valley homeland, and in modern times created one of the first successful Self-Governance Tribal structures in the nation.

Our traditional language belongs to the Athabascan Language family, which relates us to other peoples in the region and, more remotely, to the Athabascans from the interior of Alaska and northern Canada, as well as to the Navajos and Apaches Tribes of the Southwest. Our traditional way of life was based on the semiannual king salmon runs that still occur on the Trinity River, which flows through the center of the Hoopa Valley Reservation. In addition, we made use of other indigenous foods, especially acorns. Both these resources remain important as ceremonial foods. Today some 2500 Hupa people live on the Hoopa Valley Reservation, in the heart of our traditional territory.

The Hupa people traditionally occupied lands in the far northwestern corner of California. The boundaries of the reservation were established by Executive Order on June 23, 1876 pursuant to the Congressional Act of April 3, 1864. The boundaries were expanded by Executive Order in 1891 to connect the old Klamath River (Yurok) Reservation to the Hoopa Valley Reservation. Further confirmation of the ownership by the Hupa Tribe of the Hoopa Valley Reservation came on October 31, 1988 with President Ronald Regan’s signature on Public Law 100-580, the Hoopa/Yurok Settlement Act.

The Hupa People have occupied their lands since time immemorial, and the past century has really been the shortest in our history. However up until the late 1800′s there is little or no written record on the rich history and culture that is now the Hoopa Valley Tribe. Much of the tradition and lore that still exists today has been passed along between generations via an extensive oral tradition. The ceremonies and traditions continue in the similar manners as they have since the beginning, and will continue in this custom.

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