Chilula (Yurok language term: Chueluela' / Chueluelaa' , Tsulu-la, "People of Tsulu, the Bald Hill", locally known as the "Bald Hills Indians") were an Pacific Coast Athabaskan tribe speaking a dialect similar to the Hupa to the west and Whilkut to the south, who inhabited the area on or near Lower Redwood Creek, in Northern California, some 500 to 600 years before contact with Europeans.
Upstream and northwest of the Whilkut along the Lower Redwood Creek lived the Chilula; they established their more than 20 villages only along the eastern shore, because there the mountains were broken by valleys irrigated by small streams, while the western shore was difficult to access.
The Chilula (together with Whilkut) were called by the neighboring Hupa-speaking peoples Xwiy¬q'it-xwe / Xwe:yłq'it-xwe ("Redwood Ridge / Bald Hills People"), the Karuk also called them Vitkirik'áraar ("People of Viitkírik/Viitkírak (Bald Hills)"), therefore they were also known as Bald Hills Indians or Lower Redwood Indians. Because of their close Hupa kin they are also called Lower Redwood Creek Hupa or Downstream Redwood Creek Hupa. Sometimes they are also considered another fourth tribelet (subgroup) of the Whilkut and are called the Chilula Whilkut.
Chilula descendants have since been incorporated into the Hupa:
- Hoopa Valley Tribe (Hoopa, Humboldt County, Population 2013: 3.139) (Hupa, Tsnungwe, Chimalakwe, Chilula, Whilkut)
The Chilula originally had at least 20 villages, these villages are known by name: k'ina'-xontah-ding (Kinahontahding), kinyiq'i-kyoh-mingwah (Kingyukyomunga), łich'iwh-'inahwh-ding (Hlichuhwinauhwding), mis-me' (Misme), noleh-ding (Noleding), q'a: xis-tah-ding (Kahustahding), q'ayliwh-tah-ding (Kailuhwtahding), q'ung'-kyoh-lay' (Kingkyolai), sikinchwin-mitah-ding (Sikinchwungmitahding), to:n'-dinun-ding (Tondinunding), ts'in-sila: -ding (Tsinsilading), xontehł-me' (Hontetlme), xowuni-q'it (Howunakut), yinuqi-no:mitse'-ding (Yinukanomitseding), yitse'ni-ning'ay-q'it (Yisining'aikut). Further settlements are mentioned: Kailuhwchengetlding, Tlochime, Tlocheke.
A 205' Cherokee-class US Navy oceangoing tugboat was christened the USS Chilula (ATF-153) in 1945, and recommissioned in 1958 as the United States Coast Guard Cutter Chilula (WMEC-153), serving until 1991.
- Chilula Bibliography, from California Indian Library Collections Project
- Driver, Harold Edson (1935). Vocabularies (from Tolowa, Chilula, Van Duzen, Mattole, Sinkyone of Northwestern California). California Indian Library Collections. Retrieved 26 August 2012.
- Goddard, Pliny Earle. Notes on the Chilula Indians of Northwestern California. University of California Publications in American Archaeology and Ethnology, vol. 10, no. 6. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1914.
- Lake, Robert G. Chilula: People from the Ancient Redwoods. Washington, D.C.: University Press of America, 1982. ISBN 0819123846
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