Bear River Band of the Rohnerville Rancheria

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Bear River Band of the
Rohnerville Rancheria
Loleta CA Bear River Casino.jpg
The tribe's Bear River Casino in Loleta, California
Total population
96 rancheria population[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 of the Rohnerville Rancheria is a federally recognized tribe of Mattole, Bear River and Wiyot people in Humboldt County, California.[3]


The Bear River Band is headquartered in Loleta, California. Their current tribal chairperson is Barry Brenard[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[edit]

The Rohnerville Rancheria is a federally recognized ranchería located in two separate parts. One (40°34′49″N 124°07′21″W / 40.58028°N 124.12250°W / 40.58028; -124.12250) is at the eastern edge of Fortuna, and the other (40°37′53″N 124°12′11″W / 40.63139°N 124.20306°W / 40.63139; -124.20306) 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[edit]

The Bear River Band owns and operate the Bear River Casino-Hotel resort, River's Edge Restaurant, and the Thirsty Bear Sports Bar and Grill in Loleta, California.[6]

Traditional culture[edit]

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. ^ "Population." SDSU: California Indians and Their Reservations. Retrieved 25 June 2012.
  2. ^ a b c d "Bear River Band of the Rohnerville Rancheria." United Indian Health Services. Retrieved June 25, 2012.
  3. ^ a b 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.
  5. ^
  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.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°34′49″N 124°07′22″W / 40.580198°N 124.122652°W / 40.580198; -124.122652