Eel River Athapaskan peoples

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Eel River Athapaskan
Eel River Athapaskan area
Regions with significant populations
Eel River language, American English
Animism (largely ex), Christianity

The Eel River Athapaskans include the Wailaki, Lassik, Nongatl, and Sinkyone groups of Native Americans that traditionally live on or near the Eel River of northwestern California.

These groups speak dialects of a single language belonging to the Pacific Coast Athabaskan group of the Athapaskan language family which is prominently represented in Alaska, western Canada, and the southwestern U.S. Other related Athapaskan groups neighboring the Eel River Athapaskans included the Hupa-Whilkut-Chilula to the north, the Mattole on the coast to the west, and the Kato to the south.


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) proposed a 1770 population for the Nongatl, Sinkyone, and Lassik as 2,000, and the population of the Wailaki as 1,000. Sherburne F. Cook (1976) suggested a total of 4,700 for the Nongatl, Sinkyone, Lassik, Wailaki, Mattole, and Kato. Martin A. Baumhoff (1958) estimated the aboriginal populations as 2,325 for the Nongatl, 4,221 for the Sinkyone, 1,411 for the Lassik, and 2,760 for the Wailaki, or a total of 10,717 for the four Eel River Athapaskan groups.

Kroeber estimated the combined population of the Nongatl, Sinkyone, and Lassik in 1910 as 100, and the population of the Wailaki as 200.

Today, some Wailaki people are enrolled in the Scotts Valley Band of Pomo Indians of California[1] and the Grindstone Indian Rancheria of Wintun-Wailaki Indians.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ California Indians and Their Reservations. San Diego State University Library and Information Access. 2009 (retrieved 27 July 2009)
  2. ^ California Indians and Their Reservations: G. San Diego State University Library and Information Access. 2010 (retrieved 30 June 2010)


External links[edit]